Christopher Stocks

Island Life

When the wind blows

P1000203Living three miles out to sea has its advantages (more sunshine than average, later sunsets, cleaner air…) but when we get a south-westerly gale like the one that’s been raging for the last couple of days we really get it in the neck. Everything booms and rattles all day and all night, the salt spray burns our precious plants, and my study windows get so thickly coated with oily spray that I can hardly see outside. Even a walk to the end of the street leaves you breathless, completely dishevelled and slightly sticky with salt.

On days like these I’m thankful for our foot-thick Portland-stone walls, which must have witnessed many gales far worse than this, such as the Great Gale of November 1824 (more colourfully known as The Outrage) which breached Chesil Beach, drowned 25 islanders, swept away the old ferry across the Fleet and even, a mile or two inland, blew a farmer’s turnips clean out of the ground.