The weather. I forgot.
This island is tiny, really. Less than 50 square miles. Completely surrounded by sea. The water in the air and good soil means that it is brimming with nature of all kinds. Birds are everywhere, the verges are shocked through with colourful blooms. I bet there’ll be good mushrooms in season. But around us, everywhere, there is the sea – the vast implacable sea – and the weather it brings.
The little local store only sells instant coffee grains, so I start my day with a hunt for coffee outside. There’s a place on the front with a view of Elizabeth Castle. The coffee ain’t great, but it hits the spot. This morning I went out in the bright sunshine. I parked the car the other side of the main road from the coffee. I didn’t check the sky over the sea as I crossed at the lights to get it. “A flat white,” I said to the man in the stall. It’s a burnt latte but I’m in Jersey. And the rain started. Suddenly I knew I was in for. The wind picked up and one of those bastard squalls rolled in just as he handed me my boiling coffee through the window. Leaping through a puddle that wasn’t there a moment before, I tried to outpace the epicentre of the weatherfront. These things have 4 stages of rain. Blowing mist in the air turns to heavy droplets turns to pelting rain turns to upside down lake and then back the other way just as quickly. I was badly timed for the lights. With my car no more than ten seconds from me I had the whole lake dropped on my head.
A drowned rat I still ran when the lights changed. Thankfully I had a change of clothes in the car, and steamed everything up wrestling myself into dry clothes again. Just in time for the sun to come back as if it had never gone. Check the skies when you live by the sea.
My grandfather had a tide chart always open and a special clock to keep track of the changes. I’m remembering now how it can be here, where the weather changes utterly in a moment. We are a rock in the sea. When the foghorns blow, all the planes are grounded, and the foghorns blow all the time.
Right now, in my bed in this little beige room I can hear the wind fighting with the edges of my building. The window is closed but it’s still trying to come in here to disturb my peace. We are all clinging on here, protected by the ingenuity of the generations that came before us and learnt how to make their own cave.
Next week back into the unknown and I’m going to have to step up my pace in this as everything is already taking longer than at thought it would.
Still, I had a walk through the cliffs in the wind and sun after the squall. It takes it out of you, this sea air. I’m off to sleep. Did I take a photo? Ah yes. This is where I ate my sandwich. The beaches are incredible. If only it wasn’t so wet and windy.