As I sat here, early this morning, it hailed. Great chunks of ice clattering down. But at least we haven’t had snow, like many parts of the country. Although snow would have been nice now I think about it…
One of the many joys of this place, with this view, is weather-watching. And we have arrived at a perfect time of year to fully experience the vagaries of the weather: this April seems unseasonably cold and wet and most certainly variable. One day we celebrate a glorious golden sunset, the next is relentlessly grey. Oh, capricious April, you have shown us many faces this year!
It was not entirely grey, on the particular Sunday that I’m thinking of, for the morning delivered up a magnificent bright and breezy sunrise. But the rest of the day was unremittingly grey. The sun made no effort and the winds rose – bringing smatterings of rain as the afternoon wore on. As dusk fell, the wet was settling in hard: a dark, dank, autumnal evening, when the world felt far away and we seemed deliciously cocooned and private.
Just a few short days later though, I woke to a frosty, misty, hobbit morning – wonderful! Mist nestling in the clefts and folds of the valley and curling around the chimney pots below us; the fields dusted with silver… Perfectly still and utterly timeless.
And this time, as the mist and frost melted away, we were left with a magnificent day filled with warmth and sunshine, which culminated in a vast, biblical sunset.
I love climbing the stairs each morning to see what awaits us outside. I choose not to look out of our bedroom window – often because B is still sleeping but also because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Padding along the passage to the stairs gives no clues at all. But climbing the spiral staircase, with its turreted windows feels a little like ascending the steps in a fairytale castle tower (though in reality our spiral staircase is anything but romantic…). I can start to get a sense of what awaits me from the quality of light. And once I’m in the main living rooms the view is spread out before me: an entire mini-kingdom presenting itself for my delight. The first gift of the day.
There have been mornings when I’m greeted by a sparkling, sunny, frosty morning which is filled with vibrant potency. One particularly frosty morn, illuminated by a warm, rosy sunrise, I watched the sheep wake up. Huddled close when I arrived upstairs, they slowly spread – chasing each new pocket of sunshine. A charming bucolic ovine view on that day!
Sometimes I arrive to a gentler welcome, when overnight rain means I’m offered a water-washed world of soft, fluid colours and whispered promise. Occasionally that promise is fulfilled; at other times within a very short while it’s vanished: all that vibrancy and colour and energy melting away to grey. And sometimes – just occasionally – we have a no-weather day. The morning opens grey and remains grey. No wind, no rain, no sun, just grey stillness. Those are my least favourite days. Here, I feel surrounded by weather. On no-weather days, life just doesn’t feel right at all!
But no-weather days are rare. We’ve had a dark, dank and dreary Friday, followed by a Saturday with wide-open skies and sparkling sunshine and then a grey, brooding, bone-chilling Sunday when the wind never gave up and the temperature didn’t rise a notch, even when the clouds were blown away and the sun came out.
And is the air really that much better here? I can’t imagine that’s the case, but perhaps the strength and frequency of the winds, and being close to two coasts… perhaps we are kept constantly supplied with a source of fresh, clean air? Or maybe it’s the fact that there seems to be so much of it? Whatever: it’s vital, vibrant, dynamic, life-affirming. And magical.
We still have a few more days to go in April. As I write it’s freezing outside and we continue to need the wood burner for most of the day. Spring has felt tantalizingly close and impossibly far away. But one thing remains constant: the weather may be mercurial but the view from here is always entrancing.