Monday, 23 May 2011
The kitchen window
our kitchen window is very important. Especially today. When the lighthouse keepers built our cottages they tucked them down in a cleft to protect them from the weather, but added in one window that gave a view. That window is the first place people look when they get up, as well as all through the day. The view gives us birds, boats coming and going, state of the tides in the harbour, the coming and going of people and of course the weather. So today we spent a lot of time looking out of it. The forecast for today had been diabolical for several days so we knew what was coming. Most have us have got colds (thanks Francis !) and the weather meant no fieldwork so people were gathered in the living room, drinking Sarah B's fantastic hot toddies and every so often someone would get up and stare out of the window. By lunchtime the moans and whistles from the wind around the cottages had started and at the west end of Fluke Street the spray from the west cliffs was starting to hit the windows. By mid afternoon things had got much worse. A walk out to the south end overlooking the Maidens was a battle and I don't mind admitting that at one point I was going along on my knees round the south horn. The seas confronting us were just amazing. The swell that was rolling was huge with the surface of the sea being ripped off and sent over the island. But after tea at eight o' clock when the tide was at its highest it was past describing. Neither my words or the photographs can really portray the sight of the waves pounding in on the rocks, the spray blown right across the island, the roar of the wind but it will be a sight to remember. Trying to capture it on film was very difficult as the spray almost immediately covered the lens fogging it up. It got particularly bad when I had found that I had used the wrong handkerchief to clean the lens and found I had smeared the whole lens with snot from the afor mentioned cold. But in all of this we all felt for the birds. The full extent of what damage has been done will be seen in the morning and the next few days but there will be many nests and eggs washed away, we saw whole kittiwake nests sailing through the air while eider and shag chicks will just not be able to survive the wet and cold. Will keep you posted on what things look like tomorrow.