England’s leading art critic of the Victorian era, John Ruskin, once said: ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just different forms of good weather’.
Well, if that’s the case, on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula we experience some really good weather. In fact, perhaps even, dare I say it, some of the best weather Mother Nature has to offer.
To start with it rains. Not just a trickle, or a dash, but a torrent, followed by sheets of the stuff, with just a little of the driving sort thrown in for good measure.
That clever fellow Ruskin described rain as ‘refreshing’.
Indeed. Well, maybe we all here in Kilcrohane would be feeling very refreshed if the rain was not accompanied by gale force winds, which roar in from the south-west down the length of Dunmanus Bay with a ferocity that makes me fear that the roof will be plucked off the house.
Gale force winds and torrential rain are, according to Ruskin, ‘refreshing and bracing’.
It was far from refreshed or braced I was the other morning when the rain stopped. Next, the sky darkened and the booming sound of thunder echoed across Kilcrohane.
Then, it started to snow.
First, the white flakes fell softly and quickly melted away, but before long, as the clouds grew darker, a blanket of snow began to cover the hills surrounding the village and my thoughts returned to Ruskin who described snow as ‘exhilarating’.
So, let’s recap; in Kilcrohane, in just one morning, we were thoroughly refreshed, braced and exhilarated, and all this before midday.
Gradually, as quickly as it started, the snow stopped falling.
Imagine this, if you will: you open the door to a dark room, feel for the light switch, then click, and the room is flooded in brilliant light. Well, that’s what happened next.
Someone, somewhere, clicked the switch and there in the blue sky was the sun – big, bright and warm. As I watched, the snow evaporated, the wind stopped howling leaving only a light breeze and the sky was a lovely deep blue with the odd wispy cloud here and there. Spring it seemed had sprung. Oh, and in case you’re wondering how Ruskin would now describe this scene of sunshine and blue skies? One word: ‘delicious’.
Ruskin, however, does not mention hail, which then began falling steadily and noisily. I think perhaps we have found a weather front that Ruskin couldn’t say anything good about; after all, what can one say about hail? ‘Hail hurts’?
Braced, exhilarated and now deliciously refreshed (with a little bit of hurt thrown in?), I wondered could this day get any better for the good people of Kilcrohane? I don’t think so; apart from a severe frost, we’ve covered all the bases … although it was still early and the clouds were beginning to gather in the west. It’s like living in a time-lapse film around here.
I don’t think I can take any more excitement today.