Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Water (Word Wednesday)

Today the heavens opened. It rained and rained. It doesn't often rain like that down here. Oh it rains, it rains a lot, it is one of the wettest places in the UK and that means lots of rain. Being as exposed as we are though, with all those winds coming in off the sea, it normally gets ripped up. Most rain here falls sideways as a very fine spray. It gets you just as wet. An umbrella is no use and more likely to end up inside out than protect you from the sideways rain that blows up under them. Sometimes the rain is so fine it is more of a fog or a mist. I often look up at the nearby hills and struggle to see them for the lowing flying cloud has gotten stuck on them.

In the UK, we are obsessed with rain. We get a fair bit of it. If we don't have enough rain in the winter, we complain our reservoirs haven't filled up enough. If it rains too much we get very fed up, be it winter or summer but in the summer too much rain and crops don't ripen. Not enough and they die. We always sit on fine balance. What comes of being perched in such an interesting spot weather-wise.

All that wind sweeps moisture off the sea and over our green and luscious islands. The wind follows the ocean currents from the tropics, the fantastic gulf stream which keeps us warm and wet. Canada which is on the same latitude has very, very cold winters compared to us. While continental Europe may bake in the Summer for weeks on end, we suffer from variation. It has even snowed in the UK in June, those artic winds are never far away, if things shift right we get weather straight from the pole. Oh and then there is the sand from the Sahara too. The weather fights over us.

Living here, we often see the weather fight over our heads. This long peninsula heads south west so weather systems coming from the south or west hit us here first. Sometimes when you look up you can see a line of cloud over head. In the Summer, if the weather is not so good on the North coast, head to the South coast. If neither of those work, head to one of the two toes at the end, separated by the glorious Mounts Bay in which sits St Michael's Mount. The Southern toeis known as the Lizard and the westerly one as Penwith. They often have different weather again. One of my friends once told me that several times she has found it to be raining at her back door but not at her front door.

Water fights over us in many ways down here, not just from the sky. The waves batter us. Floods race down small steep sided valleys causing devestation such as in the Boscastle flood where amazing no one died, despite people having to climb out through their roofs. The water fights under our feet to, as miners from days gone by knew only too well. They pumped water out but sometimes it beat them. In one mining accident, there was a torrential downpour over an open shaft in which men were working. It flooded down the shaft, drowning them as they tried to climb out.

I love water though. I am fascinated by it. I love living by the sea and I am well used to the rain. Do I underestimate it though? Probably but not as much as some. I have a healthy respect for it and hope it never comes to take me. As any Cornish fisherman knows the waters of the world are a beautiful but hard mistress.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! I had to smile...your description of your weather reminds me of a phrase we sometimes use.."If you don't like the weather, stick around for ten minutes."

    I especially like the rain at one door but not the other....

    Watching UK gardening programs on BBC Canada,I was always so envious of the lush, green gardens everyone has....unlike ours which get brown and sparse in midsummer....