Westerly

Fast runs the West Wind

Clouds straggle, trees pulled east

Umbrellas useless

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n.b. Wrap up. Storm Dennis gathers strength as it approaches land.

“Umbrella” is rooted in Latin and the word for shade. This should make it clear that this implement is more of a shade than a shield. It is suitable for light rain in light breeze, not torrential downpours in Atlantic gales.

Best to get a decent bonnet for Storm Dennis and its followers.

CLP 14/02/2020

On Air

Wind sock pulled rigid

What chance the hovercraft now

On its air cushion?

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n.b. The hovercraft, one of the noisiest modes of transport, draws in air, blows it forcefully downward into a skirted area beneath so that the body of the vehicle is pushed upwards in flight. Large propellors are used to manoeuvre the craft as it floats a few inches above the surface. The vehicle can move quickly over water and land as there is no physical contact with the surface below.

The hovercraft can move at considerable speed (the world record is around 133 kph / 83 mph) over relatively stable, level surfaces.

There is only one commercial public transport service using hovercraft at present in the world. This operates between Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Southsea beach, by Clarence Pier. It is the quickest way to get from shore-to-shore across the Solent as a paying customer.

In strong winds the hovercraft has to cease operation as there is a danger of it being flipped, as tragically happened in 1972. The decision that day to attempt a crossing in winds gusting at Gale Force 8 cost four lives as the vessel sank, (twenty two people were rescued).

Yesterday the hovercraft was not running when I walked past. Employees from the ticket office were shovelling shingle off the concrete landing pan to prepare for better crossing conditions. The choppy sea, unsettled by the recent storm, was doing its best to dump more shingle ashore just as quickly.

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CLP 11/02/2020

On the Weekend (VII)

Random tin-can spins

Dances in crazy circuits

Wild Saturday night

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n.b. A tin has been rattling from kerb to brick wall to lamp-post through much of the night. Storm Ciara arrived on schedule and is gusting through the terraced streets creating whorls and eddies of air that tear at fences and buffet trees and whisk this can in merry circuits; Saturday night fever indeed! I am not going out in pyjamas to break up the dance party.

CLP 09/02/2020

La Vauchère

Wild torrent rushes

Knocks rocks, pulls roots, tears at earth

Furious outpour

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n.b. The gully formed by this stream echoes to the tumbling tumult of its headlong rush towards Lac Léman. The early morning aircraft rising to cruising height cannot drown out the constant swoosh of la Vauchère filling the air.

Yesterday’s snow showers, their cool flakes wet and heavy, will have done nothing to assuage the angry stream pouring from the heart of Pully.

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CLP 05/02/2020

January Road Trip (XXX)

Earth tumbles off steel

Turned turf rolls over face down

Gulls trawl plough’s soil wake

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n.b. After the urgent work of hedge cutting, trimming, mending, it is the time to plough. This is the moment to open the ground to air, rain and frost so the soil can break up, breathe and prepare for sewing and the warmth of spring.

It seems that every field I have passed from Norfolk to Hertfordshire is being worked today. This is the heavy, steady work of the season; rod by rod, acre by acre with the patience of the ploughman.

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CLP 30/01/2020