Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Reflection on Stormy Weather

I thought I'd take a look back at Brixhams historic storms and the more recent storm surge that hit the East Coast recently and has almost been forgotten about by the press.

East Coast Storm Surge

On the east coast of England the recent storm surge affected hundreds of seals and hit right in the middle of pupping. Now the RSPCA is looking after over one hundred seal pups in their East Winch sanctuary in Norfolk. Sadly hundreds of seals were lost in the storm. More on this from the BBC website and Friends of Horsey Seals

At Hemsby seven cliff tops homes were damaged or washed off the sandy cliffs. Some people have lost their only home whilst others using them as holiday homes have not lost quite so much.

The RSPB has been badly affected by the storm surge and Snettisham, Havergate and Dingle nature reserves have received the worst damage. Blacktoft Sands, Saltholme and Titchwell have also suffered. In an email from the RSPB a few days ago, this is what they said "The devastation to some of our nature reserves has been immense, and as I write this we're still not sure of the full impact"

The Great Gale of 1866

In Brixham we have a story about The Great Gale of 1866 which hit one night in January.

"The fishing boats only had sails then and could not get back into harbour because gale force winds and the high waves were against them. To make things worse, the beacon on the breakwater was swept away, and in the black darkness they could not determine their position.

According to local legend, their wives brought everything they could carry, including furniture and bedding, to make a big bonfire on the quayside to guide their men home.

Over fifty vessels were wrecked and more than one hundred lives were lost in the storm; when dawn broke the wreckage stretched for nearly three miles up the coast. Hearing of this tragedy, the citizens of Exeter gave money to set up what became the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's Brixham Lifeboat in 1866. Now known as Torbay Lifeboat Station"

Extract above from the History of Brixham at
http://www.brixham.uk.com/Pages/History_Introduction.htm
 

A Quiet Time

What a storm we've just had! I'm surprised the house is still standing-but we've had worse. Wind gusts recorded at Berry Head at just after 5pm today were 66 mph and the rain fell so fast we had 6 mm in an hour by 6pm. This was much worse that Hurricane Jude, which more or less missed us recently. It's all quiet now.

Sorry I've not been active on the blog recently and out and about with my camera. I had a minor operation just after Dartmouth by Candlelight and had to take it easy for a week or two. I'm not good at keeping still and have to rest a little bit more for about 4-6 weeks. Which will mean I'll be fit enough to start my keep fit and yoga classes mid January when the new term starts. Unfortunately I'll be really unfit by then and will have to get back into shape gradually.

I hope you are all well and prepared for Christmas what ever you are doing. 
Until next time. Have a good weekend
Seagull Suzie

21 comments:

  1. It was quite amazing weather today! The wind was incredible, really crashing the rain against the windows. As you say, the worst hit after dark.. not really looking forward to going out and inspecting the garden tomorrow.
    I'm sorry to hear that you have been laid up, it's tough when you're a naturally active person. Get well soon and have a really lovely Christmas Suzie.

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    1. Thank you. I'm always worried about my greenhouse-but it's fixed to the ground and in a sheltered spot. The garden looked fine but the bird feeders needed emptying of soggy seeds and refilling as I thought the birds would be very hungry.

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  2. Sorry you've had to rest up after your op. I find it SO difficult to sit and "do nothing and rest" as the Doc always says with my chest infections. I hope you are fully mended again soon.

    It's good to hear that you survived the storm, though it must have been pretty rough down on your part of the Devon coast, in the teeth of it. It was bad enough here yesterday afternoon, and we are on a valley side, reasonably sheltered. The river shot up 6 feet in half that time and was across the bottom lane when my son got a lift back from the cinema last night. He had to walk the last bit (having come over the top to avoid the flooded section.) Fortunately it wasn't over the lane this side too, as it often is.

    Merry Christmas and I am so glad I have found your lovely blog.

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    1. Thank you and thanks for checking out the blog, delighted to hear you like it. Even if I had been out and about, the weather has not been camera friendly. The wind is picking up again and the rain is due soon. I hope your river behaves itself.

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  3. Hope you recover soon from your operation, Suzie.
    The storm surge on the East Coast hasn't been properly covered on the national news at all. As well as the Seals, I know many Hares have been lost in one area which is really upsetting.
    What a terrible event the 1866 storm must have been - even today, it's possible to sense the desperation of the fishermen's families.
    Glad the weather has quietened down where you are now.
    Hope your preparations are going well, too and have a lovely Christmas!

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    1. Many thanks Wendy, I did too much today and felt a little uncomfortable-so must take it easy! I did think about all the other animals that must have been affected, even the poor worms (which drown), but didn't know about the hares until you told me. I went onto the RSPB blog and they said hares are good swimmers so it's possible they have managed to get somewhere else and they saw about 7 when checking out the reserve.
      Fishing is such a dangerous job, but it seems to be in their blood. At night we can see the twinkle of many fishing boat lights off Berry Head.

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  4. A bit of R&R is good for us all from time to time Suzie so make the most of it and ENJOY.
    Storms on land can be bad enough but to be at sea can be dire at times, the price of fish is cheap when one considers the lives lost in catching it.

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    1. You are quite right Mel, it's an incredibly dangerous and unsociable job for family life. This town really feels the loss when a boat goes down and of course we have the local RNLI team to think about too.
      I will rest-but was looking forward to some big walks-I think the weather will confine us to home and me to rest having seen the forecast.

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  5. Sorry to hear that you have not been well Suzie and about your op. I hope that it went well and that your recovery is a swift and good one. I hope too that you are all safe with this weather that we are having. It is sad to hear the story from the 1800's, but it shows that these things go round and come round doesn't it. Take care of yourself and try and be good about what you are able to do - hard I know!! I hope that you and yours have a great Christmas and that 2014 is a great year for you. xx

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    1. Thank you very much Amy, we will have a nice rest this holiday period and I'm looking forward to it. I think more bad weather is on its way for us-plenty of wet clothes, dog towels and muddy boots to come!

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  6. I do hope you recover soon from your operation Suzie - its not easy sitting and resting. I hope you have a huge pile of books you can read :)

    A really interesting post - there wasn't a lot on the news really about how badly the east coast was affected. Some of the reserves have suffered quite a lot of damage :( and its very sad about the seals.

    Glad to hear you survived the storm. Hope your Christmas preparations are going well too and have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Many thanks for your good wishes. I have ordered a few Thomas Hardy books to keep me quiet and I've just finished Far from the madding crowd, so I hope they arrive soon.
      It's very sad, all that damage and hardly reported. I can just imagine how chaotic it must be looking after over 100 pups-that's an awful lot of feeding and cleaning....and I thought my house was bad enough!

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  7. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and I hope you are soon back on your feet :-)

    When the storm hit at the beginning of the month I was really concerned about so many of our nature reserves over here on the east coast and as you have written the damage has been very worrying. However such events are part of nature and I'm sure most, and indeed hopefully all, will bounce back given time :-)

    PS. In case I don't get another opportunity to do so I wish you a very happy Christmas and all the best for the year ahead :-)

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    1. Thank you David. Wildlife does bounce back doesn't it...the hares will recover well according to the RSPB, but the normal roosts are unavailable for the birds so I hope they find somewhere else to rest especially with more bad weather coming in. Today I watched lots of herring gull chicks coming back in from the sea and plenty of seagulls of all types flying inland-just in time too as it's wild out there again, with winds gusting to 50mph.

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  8. I do hope you're completely recovered soon. Glad you survived the storm too! Fascinating stuff - that bonfire must have been amazing. x

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    1. According to local legend the flames of the bonfire swept up in the shape of an angel. It must be picking up again on Dartmoor-we're in for some bad weather so stay safe.

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  9. Sorry to hear that you had a minor operation and hope you continue make a good recovery and take it easy. I found your story on the storm in 1866 so interesting it must have been such a tragedy for the town.
    Sarah x

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    1. It took a storm like that and the loss of life to get the RNLI station and also move the improvements to the Breakwater on a little.
      I will take it easy and thanks for your good wishes.

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  10. Hope you are soon feeling tickerty-boo again soon. Very windy our way too and flooding over the Downs on our way to a quilting evening on Wednesday, worth the journey though, lots of chat, tea and mince pies!!!! Have a Happy Christmas, and thank you for all your interesting blogging throughout the year! Look forward to more next year!

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    1. Thank you. Glad to hear your journey was worth it, still rough weather here and more to come. Merry Christmas to you too, still have lots to photo for next year...and a new macro lens for the camera. So who knows what I'll be up to, but I'll be delighted that you're joining me on my 2014 adventures.

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  11. Thank you all for leaving a comment and your kind wishes on a speedy recovery for me.
    Just in case we don't blog or comment before Christmas is upon us, I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas.
    Merry Christmas
    SeagullSuzie

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Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment. I read them all. At the moment I'm struggling for time making it difficult to reply individually to each comment, but I'll do my best.