East wind (513)

by Max Akroyd

There are few things less welcome hereabouts than an east wind.

Every sensible building in Brittany is orientated to resist the depradations of the old foe, the West Wind. An east wind, then, is a sneaky, wintry wind which insinuates its way into undefended places. The animals shiver. Plants in the greenhouse go crisp and dark, like seaweed from a local Chinese takeaway, because the expensive UV-resistant bubble wrap which lines the greenhouse walls is definitely not east wind-resistant, and ends up on the floor…

The weather is uniformly hostile at present. When I’m not watching the piglets in amazement, I’m ferrying straw and hay to and fro to shore up the animals’ internal and external defences against the cold. Everything seems to take twice as long as it should. By the time these tasks are discharged, the animals fed and the firewood fetched in, the appeal of a cup of coffee is impossible to resist. Only the frozen-solid soil defends me from the charge of vegetable growing slackery!