Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Wild, Wintry West

The In-Charge came home last night and said, 'It's all white on the hills along the road. And we're going to get 60' waves tomorrow.'
'Goodness,' I replied. I was diligently working the border of Tina's blanket at the time (Tina is waiting to collect it and send it off - it's a Christmas present for her sister), so I wasn't concentrating very hard.
'Where's the snow?' I asked, far more interested in set-dressing than water. 'Up around Skreen?'
It was indeed around Skreen that winter has descended, perhaps a little early for Christmas, but it's getting the right idea.

Adding the border

We have been in the teeth of a storm for the last three days. Bitterly cold winds screaming in from the north like banshees on broomsticks - tearing the face off you if you're daft enough to be out. Hail flinging itself at the roof and windows like gunfire, odd snatches of sunshine luring you to a false sense of security. I was at a craft fair with my friend the Goddess of Plenty on Sunday. By mid-morning, in a blitz of thunder and lightning, the power had gone, never to return, and at the end of the day we were both so numb with cold it's a wonder we managed to pack the car and drive home.

But this morning lying in that half world between sleeping and waking, listening to the trees moaning around the house, my brain snapped on like a light switch.
60 foot waves? That's not a storm, that's a tsunami.
We are only 70' above sea-level ourselves, we can see the sea from our upstairs windows. The river runs practically past our door.
What does he mean, 60' waves?
I pictured walls crumbling, cars floating, trees like flotsam, the bridge swept away on an angry, churning tide.
Lying there, I suddenly wondered if the distant roaring I could hear was the sea, preparing to strike.
I decided it was time to get up. The hens wouldn't stand a chance.
But later, as I headed out of the village, the sea just looked grey and cross and murky.
I noticed that the sea road was closed though.
And this evening the wind is still roaring. Hail has come and gone and come again.
It isn't over yet.

I hated the wind when we first moved here. There are times when I still hate it, but by and large I like the connection it gives me. Lying in bed, cocooned in my warm nest, safe within the thick, 200-year old stone walls of this house, there is something wonderful about the wind and the trees battling it out all around me.It is like being in the centre of the vortex - the eye of the storm - or at the bottom of the sea. Something wild and elemental is happening, but just beyond my reach. And I am not quite as fearful for the trees as I used to be, after years of watching how they dance to the wind-demon's whim.

It isn't always like that, of course. Sometimes a gale finds its way inside the roof, you can hear it whirling around in apocalyptic rage beneath the slates like a dervish, trying to get in, in - in to the heart of the place, hungry to lay waste. It has managed that, once or twice, slates spinning off like fish-scales - but hopefully not today. Today it doesn't sound personal, not like the night that still haunts me, when I woke to hear the wild beast of heaven swarming overhead like a demon on the rampage.

It's my hens I feel most sorry for. Who would be a hen in this weather?

A brief moment of sunshine - it didn't last!

Poor little dotes. They are blown hither, thither and yon. They look bedraggled and cold, and spend all day hiding in the shrubbery below the wall.
At least they get a hot breakfast and supper. From the indecent speed with which they gobble it up, I think they like it! Simple to make, but it makes all the difference to their day - half a kettle of hot water in their 'cornflakes' and then I splat it about on the grass for them.

Hot mash makes for happy hens

But at least they are all there at bedtime tonight. Cold, damp and blown but otherwise unscathed.
As are my roofs. And my trees.

To come away unscathed is to be blessed.
So mercifully, just a normal wild, wintry day.
Let's hope the 60 foot waves will only feature in the annals of local folklore.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ah, go on! Make my day - leave a comment!