Day in, Day out

Daily Prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn

For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

Once upon a time I would happily have approached this prompt with an elegy to Autumn. How I love Autumn – season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Woodsmoke on the breeze and a nip in the air, heaps of russet leaves to kick up on long walks in dank woods. The absolute beauty of the trees with their leaves turning… blackberry picking trips, gathering windfall apples…  Yes, I love Autumn.

Alas, I moved to live in Orkney. Up here we have two seasons – nine months of Winter and the remainder of the year, Not-winter. The weather in both seasons is remarkably similar, at least as far as temperatures go – the Gulf Stream influences our climate significantly, making Orkney warmer than most places at this latitude (59° N) and there is less than 10°C difference between the average winter and average summer temperatures. The warmth of our winters means that we have little snow to look forward to.

The absence of trees means we do not have the seasonal signals that other places have – no spring leaf buds to watch out for, no golden leaves to fall, no hedgerows to scavenge for blackberries or crabapples. The geese come and go, the days have more or less daylight hours. The wind  is a little less strong, for the main part, when we have our nominal Summer. That’s it. Basically we have the light half of the year and the dark half and that is how we tell the season.

Wind

“[Orkney’s] one outstanding characteristic is wind. No other region in Great Britain can compare with it for the violence and frequency of its winds”
Magnus Spence. “The Climate of Orkney” 1908

 

To the visitor to Orkney, the wind is perhaps the most commented aspect of the islands’ weather. Even in the summer there is an almost constant breeze (usually a Force three or four on average) and this can give a biting edge to the warmest of days.

Strong winds are common, carrying with them salt from the sea, which in turn affects vegetation. In winter, gales are common with an average of 52 hours of gales recorded annually.

 

In the dark half of the year, the average wind speed increases to around Force 6, often force 7 or 8. More extreme gales, where the windspeeds are over 90 mph, occur relatively frequently, although usually only in short bursts. The worst of these gales was recorded in 1953 – an event that saw considerable damage through the isles.

http://www.orkneyjar.com/orkney/climate.htm

I have to quibble with that figure for gale hours! I may contact the site owner and ask him where he is getting his data from. In the 7 years that I have lived on Sanday, our weather stats have shown roughly between 20 and 50 Gale Days per annum. A gale can blow  for two or three days at a time, though sometimes we will only touch Gale Force for a couple of hours or so.

It all sounds rather horrible, doesn’t it? It’s not – but I do miss Autumn.

Actually, I miss Spring too – and Winter snow… but I do like living where Summer is but a distant memory. I hate the heat.

Recently, at the: Crooked House

A Month in France: Nothing is Lost

A Month in France: Nothing is Lost

I am lagging on the Month in the Country prompts, and lagging badly at that. I have a list of prompts t be caught up on and I shall be working my way through them here, or at Scattered Thoughts depending on where the post most naturally sits. I have elected to tackle the prompts not in date order necessarily but to seize upon prompts that offer me space in which to write down the things that I am feeling the need to say. Even if I need to crowbar it in. The thing is, I am going to continue to be short of time and space in which to write and so a two-for-one is useful and I hope to do as many of those as I can. Seems like a plan? … Continue readingA Month in France: Nothing is Lost

Oh, deer

Oh, deer

Nell and I had a lovely walk this morning. The weather has cooled considerably and there was a very pleasant breeze. We both made better time than of late. … Continue readingOh, deer

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