Posts Tagged ‘wind’

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Gloomy and wet. The lane rainwater-full. Gales blow. Garden chairs crash and windows leak.

Floors washed, paperwork done, holes drilled and pictures hung. Even washing machine plumbing, long standing left, is ticked off the list.

Now feeling neat.

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Over the reassuring hum of the boiler, the wind hisses its wild way across the Quantocks. Anything loose is sent flapping. As the birds try to fly, they are suspended in the frustrated sky, then suddenly released. The yellowing leaves that remain in the hedge across the lane quiver continually, as though planted in jelly. From time to time, huge gusts batter the windows and come draughting down the chimney. There is shooting in the distance. My nose is cold. The lane runs red with mud.

Title — from a poem by John Milton 1608-74.

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I’m exhausted after a weekend of cutting the hedge and general garden clearing up, in fairly high winds and intermittent rain. I imagined I would do some lovely gardening this weekend – a bit of deadheading and weeding – ornamental kind of stuff. But I thought wouldn’t take too long to trim the hedge. It didn’t but, of course, I’d forgotten how I’d end up distracted by clearing scraping lichen off the bench and sweeping up all the remains of the hedge. My hands hurt, my back’s stiff and I’m fed up. This isn’t how it’s meant to be.

This summer has seen few visitors to the cottage. Most of my friends have already been here once, so the novelty’s gone and I find that I have few takers, when I offer an invitation. Then again, I’m not very good at remembering to invite people with enough notice. Most can’t drop what they’re doing at two days’ notice, just to nip off with me.

So, Spring Cottage is making me feel a bit fed up. I hope it will pass but I feel pretty negative about it at the moment. I’m wondering if it was all a big mistake. Just yet another thing to be responsible for and have to worry about. Has the novelty gone for me too? Have I travelled too much this year for a little place in England to seem interesting? Do I just need to settle in to my normal rhythms and calm down? I should remember that it’s easy for me to feel negative when I’m tired.

On the good side, I went to the Co-Op to get some supplies and was surprised to be greeted by name by a woman, who was obviously on her way to a glamorous night out. I must have looked completely blank as she immediately volunteered, “Riding…”, at which point I recognised her face (but still can’t recall her name). I don’t think I’d ever seen her without a riding hat on. Lovely to bump into someone relatively locally – I never do, unless I’m actually in the garden and someone I know goes past the house. I know so few people here that I’m usually pretty certain that I will be icognito wherever I am.

P.S. It’s interesting how choice of pictures can influence the tone of something. The weekend was really more like the first picture, but the second one makes it actually look quite picturesque. Even the faded plastic parts of the wheelbarrow look like they’re a lovely pink.

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Well, I’m not off to Sweden just yet. So, today I’m going to take you to Bishop’s Lydeard, which is a few miles away. It was the day of the village fete and flower show; so, despite a lowering sky, I went off to have a look.

bunting blowing in the wind

Coming only two weeks after the school fair, it felt a bit flat. Perhaps Bishop’s Lydeard needed a bit of a rest from fairs and fetes. Or perhaps it was the weather, which threatened rain all afternoon. But I felt a bit sorry for the people who had planned the events and were gamely manning the stalls in the brisk wind. However, and there’s always a ‘however’, I still managed to buy two secondhand books and two verbena seedlings, all for the princely sum of £2. So, I went home happy and I suspect many others did, too.

thatched house

Bishop’s Lydeard, built mainly of local red limestone, with a few beautiful thatched buildings and an old mill, is the home of an excellent Co-Op (our closest shop), three pubs (two of which are for sale), a corner shop (recently closed), a garage, an ironmongers, a fantastic butcher’s, a bistro (defunct), a couple of newsagents, a primary school, a marvellous church and a library (threatened with closure). In other words, it is just the same as any other high street – struggling to keep its identity and services, as the forces of out-of-town shopping draw the locals away with the lure of more.

thatched house and cottage garden

Bishop’s Lydeard is quite a big village, big enough to sustain a primary school obviously, but two failing pubs? All three pubs are well-established, so must have been around since before the population grew to the size it is today.

pool table in a pub

Yet, now that the village is bigger than ever, they are closing. We know from NHS statistics that people aren’t drinking less, particularly women; supermarkets, with their cheap alcohol, are being blamed, as people are stay at home to drink. Which is sad, as pub closures isolate sections of the community into the little boxes that they call their homes and that can’t be good thing. Any more than the library and shop closures are.

modern housing

I just wonder where it will all end and whether there is a way back. Maybe when we run out of fuel for transport and services, and facilities have to become local again.

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Arriving late in silvery light, the wind is blowing fiercely. It’s just slightly too dark to see the garden well enough but I spot a few mildewy, overblown roses and wonder why Lady-Gardener (just realised what a stupid name I’ve given her) hasn’t dead-headed them. Then I understand that I can have that real pleasure tomorrow.

The flowers I lazily left last time are mysteriously still almost intact, as though shutting the front door on them had slowed the passage of time here.

night-time indoors
I still have the hedge cutting to finish, if the wind will let me. But for now, I sit in the stillness, listening to the trees outside rustling in their displacing gusts of wind, and think how lucky I am. Above all, I also left some cans of beer in the fridge.

Pshhtt!

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On a clear day, you can see Burnham on Sea, almost 21 miles away, from my bedroom window; we are that high up. So, on Saturday, having read that Burnham has one of the longest sandy beaches and the shortest pier in the UK, we decided to pay it a visit. It was an incredibly windy day and nowhere more so than on the seafront, where we hurried down off the esplanade onto the beach itself, to get a little lower out of its reach.

the beach at Burnham on Sea

The beach really is marvellous, with sand that stretches on into the distance in a gentle curve as far as you can see. The beach and, in fact, most of Bridgwater Bay, is incredibly flat, so that the kite surfers have a long way to go before it is deep enough for them to get into the waves. The sand is oddly mixed with mud in places, something that I’ve never seen before, so that it is easy to sink down above the ankles with one misplaced step, making me think of quicksand before I knew better.

sand blowing across the beach

The wind blew the sand everywhere; into my hair, my ears, my mouth but oddly not into my eyes, for which I was very grateful. I even managed to photograph it (above) blowing across the sand to make dunes by the scrub to which the sea wall gives way after a few hundred of yards. (All the pictures enlarge, by the way, should you want a little more detail – just click on them.)

Burnham on Sea's beach lighthouseIt was actually rather wonderful to walk along the beach to the nine-legged lighthouse, built in the 1850s and still in use today, maintained by Trinity House. And when I got home, I found that, now that I knew what I was looking at, I could also make this out through the binoculars from the cottage.

Burnham on Sea beach, Somerset

I took these photos on my iPhone as I forgot to take my proper camera out with me, but I rather like the grainy texture of some of them, where the light presumably wasn’t being correctly measured. It’s amazing that they came out at all, since it was so bright I couldn’t really see what I was pointing it at on the screen.

the sun going down over the water at Burnham on Sea

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Incredibly windy today with clouds scudding across the sky and the wind whistling down the chimney. Rapidly alternating gloom and sunny breaks meant that I had to pick my moment to be outside but I was able to gather the wherewithall with which to plant up the hyacinths with no trouble. Alternatively, it could be some kind of very vile witches’ brew.

Of course, as with all things that take place in the garden, it took much longer than it should have done because I got distracted and spent an hour or so clearing moss and dead leaves from under the slats of a funny little bench, which Lady-Vendor had built into the bank at the back of the house. It’s a really stupid construction from that point of view but, on a sunny and breezy summer’s day, it’s a nice sheltered place to sit. And it’s often windy up here in the hills.

built in bench

Sad part of the day was that despite our attempts to protect them, I had to fish a dead frog out of the pond today. However, there was only one (compared to last year’s five) and we now have a little ball floating on the pond, so that, should it freeze again, we can take the ball out so that oxygen can get in and other gases escape. That’s if the ball doesn’t blow away – I keep finding it half-way across the garden.

Despite the cold, there are already some things flowering: hellebores just starting to come out and something I don’t recognise. No snowdrops yet, although shoots are starting to poke through here and there.

It was also perfect weather to gather wood for kindling. I hate buying kindling and tend to collect wood when I’m walking locally. Today, I didn’t even need to go for a walk as the winds had brought down quite a lot of branches in the garden and the lane but I went for a walk anyway.

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