The Coming Storm



This is Dawlish Warren, where the Exe Estuary meets the English Channel in the picturesque county of Devon in southwest England.  The Warren, the Exe Estuary and the cliffs at Dawlish are protected by an alphabet soup of designations for their various importances (is that even a word??) and the Jurassic Coast starts on the other side of the estuary.  The geology and landscape around here are dominated by red sandstone laid down in a continental interior during the Permian – I was on my way, one Saturday morning, to spend some quality time with the said sandstone just along the coast at Dawlish when the train went past the Warren, and I took this atmospheric photo through the train window.

Dawlish Warren
Dawlish Warren

Looks idyllic, doesn't it?  It’s what the photo doesn’t show that comes to mind when I look at it.  Out of the window on the other side of the carriage, the sky was black.  Not just grey, but black-with-menaces.  The sort of black that a daytime sky has no business being.  

As we rounded toward the small town
and seafront station of Dawlish (which is now famous for the railway line being washed away there in a later, rather more massive storm and equally famous for the Herculean work of the 'Orange Army' who repaired it), the heavens opened.  As those of us who were getting off the train there did just that, and those who weren’t getting off looked smug, we were lashed by horizontal rain, salt spray and rather stiff winds.  The passengers who had a particular destination in Dawlish made a run for it, but I just took shelter in the station, wondering whether my trip was in vain.   

Luckily, the storm was reasonably short-lived and although I did watch several more squalls going past out to sea during the morning, I did get my quality time with the red cliffs - and a long journey back to the Flatlands of the East, tired but happy, afterwards. That said, it will be a long time before I forget that storm!

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