Sometimes you don’t need a weather forecast or idle piece of conversation to know that the weather is taking a turn for the worst.
After years of living here in Dartmoor, I can sense when a storm is brewing, I can feel the rain clouds forming before they appear and I swear I could predict the change in direction of the wind. I’m not trying to claim that I’m some kind of soothsayer or a particularly canny meteorologist – it’s just a skill that I’ve built up over the years.
I felt one of these changes last weekend. In the morning the moor was shining and I was considering how best to go about my daily chores. The skies were a clear blue, but there was a charge in the air, some kind of static vibration that made me instinctively reach for my rain coat, even though I could literally see the night’s dew evaporating in the morning sun. I don’t look at weather forecasts out here anymore, I just feel my way through each day in this manner, it works out well for the most part.
Of course, if I had looked at the forecast, I would have seen that several states of America were struggling to cope with one of the biggest weather events that the country has had to deal with for decades. If I’d tuned into the news, I would have seen reporters slipping around in the adverse conditions, people evacuating their homes and a warning that this weather system would have ramifications for us here in the UK.
The first spots of rain dashed against my cheek as I was bringing firewood back to the Mine House. I quickened my pace to a jog and pulled my raincoat over the stack of wood in my arms. By the time I reached home, the spots had turned into large fat drops which were being whipped up into a frenzy by the quickening wind. With a struggle, I managed to close the door behind me and was greeted by utter chaos in the Mine House.
A window had been left open in the kitchen, giving the strong gusts of wind free reign to wreak havoc throughout the House. Papers were scattered everywhere, a mug had smashed on the floor along with a vase that I’d picked up at a car boot last weekend. The destruction was minimal, admittedly; the real shock was the drop in temperature. Whilst the morning had been hot and balmy, the air filled with smells of Summer, now a cold wind had blown in with the rain making the Mine House feel like a desolate wreck.
I set about sorting out the place; closing the window and checking around the House for any further damage. Satisfied with my work, I lit a fire in the hearth and nursed a cup of tea. The dulcet tones of a well-spoken woman informed me of the devastation that had been left in Florida and I felt silly for overreacting to my minor incident.
That night I fell asleep to the sounds of gale force winds and more rain battering the Old Mine House, Summer had well and truly ended. Thank God I saw it coming.
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