Sunday, 16 February 2014
Today was the first proper dry, sunny day we've had for months.
Those of you reading outside the UK have probably had "weather" of your own to contend with, but we've been taking a record-setting battering since before Christmas from storm after storm after storm. On Friday night diners at a South Coast restaurant not far from here had to be rescued when the windows were smashed in by stones thrown up by wind and waves from the beach. During the same tempest a man died when the porthole of a cruise ship was broken by a freak wave out in the Channel. Flooding has become a major problem in low-lying areas that haven't been flooded for a hundred years or more. Climate change? I should say so.
Winchester has been partially inundated by the river Itchen, but up on the high, free-draining chalk downs things are pretty normal. It was very pleasant just to get out and wander about, poking things with a stick for a couple of hours.
About half a mile away, above a valley to the east of Winchester, we watched a flock of about 200 or more lapwings, flying backwards and forwards in tight formation, twinkling white as they turned and showed their undersides in the sun. I imagine they'd been driven inshore from the coastal marshes by the weather, but they seemed simply to be revelling in the unaccustomed sunshine.