It felt like proper winter this morning, with a hard frost that left everything covered in tiny shards of ice that sparkled with miniature rainbows when the sun caught them.
We’re half way through Storm Christoph – it drenched much of the country last night and is forecast to blast us again later today and all of tomorrow. It’s times like these I am thankful I live in a town that’s mostly built on a clifftop, though even here the heavy rainfall has caused surface flooding on the already sodden ground. I can enjoy the reflections but my thoughts are with those much less fortunate.
We’ve been experiencing sub-zero overnight temperatures over the past week or so and, some days, when the cloud or fog is particularly thick and dense, the daytime temperatures have also been very low. Still, I was surprised to see, on Thursday’s walk, when freezing fog had rolled in off the Bristol Channel, that the west lake at Cosmeston had partly frozen over. The birds looked a little confused by the conditions as well.
If you thought I’d exaggerated about how wet last month was, it’s official – Derek, the Welsh BBC weatherman, yesterday tweeted that ‘October was wetter than average in Wales with 208mm of rain’. Temperatures and sunshine were also below normal, and, having just returned from a long local walk, I can tell you it’s very squelchy out there. Still, the wet has its compensations as today’s seedheads testify.
‘Get up, sweet Slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.’
‘… the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night’
~ lines from the poem ‘Corinna’s Going a-Maying’, Robert Herrick, Hesperides
My local Jackdaws are excellent weather indicators. If I haven’t already realised how wet it is outside, I have only to glance out my bedroom window to see where they are. If they’re sitting under the eaves on the old-fashioned gutter supports, then I know it must be teaming down.
Sometimes they look really miserable sitting there, each on their own bracket. Other times, they snooze, or use the opportunity for a groom and feather spruce up.
I have to be careful trying to get photos of them, as those alert blue eyes are always aware of what’s happening around them, even when I think they’re not.
Storm Dennis has dumped a huge amount of rain across Wales this weekend, on to ground already saturated by the rain from Storm Ciara and, sadly, this has led to severe flooding in some south Wales communities. I am fortunate to live in a town which, although by the sea, is mostly built upon the clifftops, between 30 and 70 metres above sea level, so we have escaped with just a little surface flooding. And that, as you can see, can provide some very attractive reflections.
Before you think you’re reading the wrong blog, this is not a weather report!
It’s just that I was surprised during today’s woodland walk (in sunshine, though with a very chilly breeze blowing) to see that smatterings of yesterday’s hail were still lying amongst the vegetation in more sheltered areas.
And, not only that, but there were also two small drifts, a couple of feet across, of the snow that must have fallen on Monday night while I was sleeping. I noticed traces of it on some shady rooftops yesterday but thought it would all have melted away by now.
The fact that both hail and snow have survived is certainly proof, which today’s numb fingertips can confirm, that the temperatures have been much cooler this week.