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Wednesday, 18 March 2015


A week ago:

I found a large jellyfish in the middle of the golf course. It must have been deposited by a high tide helped by a high wind.

The weather for the previous week had been windy enough to make my ferry crossing a stomach-heaving experience. However, we have had worse windy spells in our five years here. There was the unusual May storm of 2011 that turned all the tender young leaves brown. They stayed brown all that summer. The New Year 2012 storm lifted roofs off at this end of Lochranza. Nigel and I sat the night out in the Ford Ranger listening to banging and crashing in the dark. And then, unforgettably, there was the March blizzard of 2013 that left much of Arran deep in snow and without electricity for several days.

When it’s windy our cabin groans and judders like the timbers of a ship. It’s hard to concentrate: I find myself wondering whether it’s better to sit tight or to go outside and keep hold of the roof. It makes me think of Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Storm on the Island’ which describes the tension and unease of waiting for a storm to subside in terms of battle:-

We just sit tight while wind dives
And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo.
We are bombarded by the empty air.
Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.

And I relate very much to Ted Hughes’ poem ‘Wind’ which captures a sense that even the ground is moving:-

In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,
Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons. 

Here at the north-west end of Lochranza we have some shelter from the prevailing south-westerlies, but the winds that whip through the gaps in the mountains can come from two directions at once. If you think of how the flow of a river over boulders forms eddies, currents, stoppers and rapids, it’s easy to visualise how the Atlantic winds behave when they meet the Arran mountains. Gales accelerate downhill like waterfalls and force their way through narrow passes like water chutes.

Today (a week later):
Lochranza  in serene mood and Nigel and Kevin getting lots of work done in the sunshine.

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