Thursday, 4 March 2010
Devon winters can be hard work. No, it's not the coldest corner of Britain. It's not the darkest. But I do believe it is the wettest part of the British Isles. Perhaps not in terms of total precipitation, but certainly in that damp feeling that permeates every corner of the home, pervades the air and penetrates the bones. From November to May, it can be very difficult to warm up. You know things are bad when you have to scrape the ice from the inside of the car's windows.
Devon winters (and springs and autumns) are full of mud. And this isn't just any old mud. No sir-ee. We're talking Devon red clay. Mud that stains your fingers with its ferrous goodness. Bright orange, sticky smears that insist on immediate removal and washing of anything they sully. The ground here stays wet for many months. The clay greedily holds on to every drop of moisture, and the sun is neither high enough in the sky nor present with enough frequency to encourage evaporation.