As we drove across the border between Devon and Cornwall on Friday night it was almost as if the wind were determined to blow us back to London. The car rocked and rolled across Bodmin Moor, forging valiantly ahead towards the westernmost tip of the British Isles.
However rough it gets in the capital the weather is benign compared to conditions arriving fresh off the Atlantic. Gales howled around our hotel all night, keeping us awake, and almost blew us off our feet as we took to the country lanes for our morning walk. They still rage on, 36 hours after we arrived. The sea, which we could see from our bedroom window, looked menacingly pale and tormented. This was weather to be on dry land, better still indoors; no time to be out at sea battling the waves.
Whenever I get to Cornwall I immediately notice how fresh and clean the air is. Breathing it in is like a spa treatment for the lungs. And if I were in any doubt of the air’s purity I would only have to glance at the hedges to either side of my path. Bare stems of hawthorn and blackthorn are thickly muffled in generous tufts of lichen wherever one looks.
They vary in form from ruffled platelets of cool greenish-grey (Farrow and Ball would probably call it Cornish Mist) to frizzled fingers the colour of weathered verdigris. Lichens’ similarity to bleached coral is striking, and in common with coral these fascinating organisms (they are not strictly plants) are hyper-sensitive to air pollution. Their presence in Cornish hedgerows is a powerful indicator of the cleanliness of the atmosphere.
This afternoon we’ll literally be gone with the wind, back up the M5 and M4 to the big smoke, leaving the fresh air and the shipwreck weather in our wake.
Wishing you a fine and dry Sunday wherever you are.
Categories: Photography, Plants, Trees and Shrubs, Weather, Wild Flowers
12 comments On "Shipwreck Weather"
Your photos are always interesting, but what I thank you for is the opportunity to look up the maps in Google and see where you were traveling to and from. Now I understand the weather. Safe travels. 🙂
Thanks Judy. You must look up St Agnes some time as that’s where all my mother’s family hail from and where my sister and Martha live. If at some stage you get to watch Poldark (I think it’s on a channel called Masterpiece is the US?) then you will get to see rather a lot of the countryside around St Agnes.
Is St.Agnes.com the right location? I’m checking to see if my cable company shows Masterpiece so I can check this out. 🙂
Correct! There’s a St-Agnes.com as well 🙂 Confusingly there’s also a small island called St Agnes but that’s in an island group called the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall.
Isn’t the lichen beautiful?
What you’re after is ‘Mizzle’..”reminiscent of a West Country mist”. Allegedly. A delightful greeny/blue grey that I painted the lobby with.
Hope you had a lovely weekend.
Ah yes, ‘Mizzle’, it was there in front of me, above me, next to me and behind me, soaking into every fibre of what I was wearing today. And still I couldn’t find quite the right word!
Other words are available, but I wouldn’t publish them on your blog!
The lichen is beautiful. I don’t think they are always noticed. Your wild weather made the news over here.
I bet it did. Believe it or not we had it pretty good in Cornwall compared to Cumbria and Scotland. I don’t mind a bit of wind and rain so long as I am dressed for it, but my heart goes out to the poor folk that were flooded. We seem to encounter these severe weather ‘events’ increasingly frequently thanks to global warming.
The symbiotic nature/existence of lichen is fascinating to me. So glad you were able to enjoy its presence despite the weather. There’s actually an album entitled Lichens created by musician Mike Howe who lives in Wales http://mikehowe.com/lichens-2015/
Thank you Jan. As I write my reply I am listening to “Lichens” on Spotify, and very lovely it is too. I really appreciate the tip as I have had a rather testing day and it’s calming my nerves (as is the white wine!). Dan
Nice! It does really refresh and lighten.