The Wind Cries Mary

We woke early to Billy doing his by now relatively familiar St. Agnes dance: shake, rattle and roll. The promised band of dark grey cloud had arrived and was, indeed, above us together with the also promised accompanying persistent rain which was being lashed into poor ol’ Billy by what felt like a gale force northwesterly wind. Raising the blinds and peering out revealed no familiar view of the sea to the west; the dark cloud was solid all the way to the horizon (wherever that was). It looked as though we might go stir-crazy for a second day.

The rain on the van was so loud that we couldn’t hear BBC Radio Cornwall for the weather forecast and had to up the volume. It seemed life was supposed to be clearing from the west, though we could as yet see no evidence of it. The skies did eventually brighten and the rain desist by about 10:00 AM, though, leaving just the howling gale.

Turbulent sea, some of which seemed to be making it over the cliffs Encouraged by our neighbours, who seemed to be setting out on a return walk in excess of 20 miles (God help their dog) and not wishing to be complete wimps, we decided to try the coastal path north of St. Agnes towards Perranporth, I was a bit concerned about our leaving Billy and effectively removing 300lbs of ballast, but off we set. After a couple of steep descents and climbs to get to the section of path in which we were actually interested, we were doing well until we started getting wet and dived for cover in what I think was an old air-raid shelter on an airfield. The sky looked relatively clear but we were certainly getting wet. It seemed to stop so we resumed only to get wet again and dive back in. Two other guys joined us and began putting on their waterproof over-trousers. Eventually we wised up: our "rain" was, in fact, sea spray being blown up and over a 200ft cliff.

At a few points we were having difficulty just pushing our walking poles forward into the force of the oncoming wind. Ultimately, we came to a particularly exposed point about three miles out and were having difficulty just walking forward into the wind – this was more like storm force than gale force – so we decided that enough battering was enough and began to make our way back. Pausing for a pint of refreshment in St. Agnes, it was quite a relief to get "home" into the shelter of Billy, even though he was still doing his shake, rattle and roll.

A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life,
Somewhere a queen is weeping,
Somewhere a king has no wife,
And the wind cries, "Mary".

(With apologies to the late, lamented, J. Hendrix, especially if I’ve misquoted.)

Wind was definitely today’s theme; "bloody Mary" might have been more appropriate. Pass the vodka!

Posted in Cornwall, 2008

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