When it comes to the weather in England, there are two things we don’t get. We don’t get extremes, and we don’t get reliable. This week we saw the lowest temperatures of the winter so far, widespread snow across many parts of the country, and then forecasts of much rain today as the temperatures recovered. Instead, we awoke to clear skies and sunshine, a day which started at zero degrees and rose to 6 at its peak, but a day where the blue sky remained unbroken and the clouds never appeared. The biting winds of the last few days are gone and today was, in short, a beautiful, crisp winter’s day, making it a perfect day for a seafront stroll.
The English Channel caressed the shore, gulls and turnstones preened in the sunshine, the people of Herne Bay filled the seafront walkways. On days like this, even the buildings seem to stand upright and breathe in the air. One of those days when you just love living by the sea.
Less than a week after commenting on the warm October, autumn sweeps in with cold nights and a biting northerly wind blowing in off the sea. With guests for the weekend including our two young nieces aged 6 and 4, we take some bracing walks by the sea, along Herne Bay seafront and on to the pier, and then along the front around Minnis Bay, buffeted all day by the cold winds straight off the lively seas. The sea itself is much choppier than normal, crashing waves where the water normally does no more than lap gently on to the shore, and though it stays dry all day and there is some sun, the temperatures have dropped a long way from last weekend and the wind chill factor must be several degrees. We think the correct word is probably “bracing”.
It’s one of those days that blows the cobwebs away and makes you feel invigorated; it’s also one of those days which reminds you that our stretch of coastline faces due North.
Needing to keep ourselves in good shape for the planned trips, we opt today for a ramble in the lovely Kent countryside around the pretty little villages of Ringlestone and Harrietsham. Well that’s one reason, though the main one really is the continued terrific weather.
England’s autumn continues to hold back and the unseasonably warm weather goes on; today is wall to wall sunshine, gorgeous blue skies and temperatures at 20 degrees, all in late October. There is real warmth in the sun, the leaves are still predominantly green as autumn colours delay, the buzz of insects fills the air almost like a summer’s day. The corner of one field has stray rapeseed plants and cornflowers, both implausibly in full bloom as they enjoy what we presume is a second flowering season. The cornflowers are alive with bees, busy pollenating, all so unusual for the time of year.
The walk is therefore lovely, it’s dry underfoot and the clear day presents wonderful views across Kent’s rolling countryside. On a day as lovely as today we need to see the sea too, so we take a quick beer at The Ship on Herne Bay seafront before we return home. A great walk; a beer by the sea; home for a venison dinner. Our kind of day.