Why We Always Talk About The Weather

The overnight gales persisted throughout this morning. We had also, once again, forgotten bottle collection day, so, driving to Milford on Sea for my medical prescription, we took the bottles to the bank in the car park, then proceeded to the coastline.

We have a phrase ‘I wasn’t born yesterday’, used to suggest ‘I’m not stupid’. Today is the one day of the year when I can legitimately claim that Jackie was born yesterday, albeit a few decades ago. She is prone to remember one morning in the 1970s when she awoke to snow on 1st June. It was therefore no surprise to her to see that road leading to The Marine restaurant, the village side of the sea wall, was covered in precipitation.

The Marine

But it wasn’t snow. What we were seeing, flying across the wall, was sea foam, spume, or, as the Japanese term it, sea flowers. Interestingly, given what happened to the restaurant’s windows on Valentine’s Night last year, that the greatest concentration of fume lay on the road and the shingle directly opposite the building.Spume on shingleSpume on rocks 1Spume on rocks 2Photographing couple in spume

A continuation of the barrier is afforded by huge granite boulders, also covered in their fair share of sea flowers.. A staff member of the restaurant knelt to photograph a couple beset by the flying flowers that had been ripped from the shore where they quivered, just like our own plants clinging precariously to the garden soil. I wandered up to them and quipped that at least it was not rocks this time. It was, you see, rocks that another stormy sea had hurled against the windows.

SeascapeShoreline in spume

Steps down to the beach, and line of shingle, as far as even the eye of the camera could see, was covered in a white shroud.

Seascape with Isle of Wight 1

Seascape with Isle of Wight 2

By late afternoon the wind speed had reduced to 20+ m.p.h., the skies had cleared, and the sun had emerged. Obviously we had to return to the beach. No longer was the spume covering the whole area, and the Isle of Wight was again visible.Waves 1Waves 2

Cohort after cohort of waves, however did pour onto the rocks, still creating flying foam which the wind send cartwheeling up the beach runway until it soared into the air.

Spume on rocks 3Spume on rocks 4Spume on rocks 5

Maybe this was the moment my sandalled feet and trouser bottoms became somewhat moistened.

The capacity to experience such a variety on one day is why we always talk about the weather.

This evening we dined on arrabbiata with some kind of tubular pasta; roasted peppers and mushrooms; and green beans, followed by pineapple sponge pudding and custard. Jackie drank Black Tower low calorie rose, whilst I finished the cabernet sauvignon.


  1. That is some impressive sea foam today, Derrick! Not a day for small boating admittedly, but I do love to see the sea when the the wind adds its own energy to the waves. With all of this ‘wrong kind of weather’ we are having for the time of year, the topic has been raised in more than a few of our conversations just lately too.

  2. I like the term “sea flowers”. It’s certainly better than “fluff”. The photos are good, Derrick, but your written narrative is evocative, lyrical, and perfect.

  3. Reading this I was reminded of lines in John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”, with “the flung spray and the blown spume…”

    I think we always talk about the weather because it’s one thing we do have in common.

    A beautiful posting, Derrick.

  4. Amazing! Absolutely worthy of your recording so beautifully in words and images. That wind must have been vile indeed to have once flung rocks through the windows. I am sure everyone involved was happily accepting of the latest gifts of the sea. Our part of the South Pacific Ocean can get particularly stormy here at St Clare, where the sea is intent on destroying the sea wall and the promenade and so by association the many restaurants, bars, cafes and apartments that line this expensive and unstable piece of real estate – Our Official Photographer was down there the other day shooting some wild and woolly weather…………. No sea flowers though. Your second to last image has captured the phenomenon perfectly!

  5. Great photos – I love watching the ocean when it has its own wild mind…standing on terra firma, of course! The photo of the beach steps is incredible.

  6. I love to see the ocean in a gale. Had it indeed been snow on the road, I would have volunteered my story of being on Skye during one of the last days of July and it…sleeting. Certainly made the visit to a distillery comforting. Your photos are wonderful and really make me feel I can imagine the wind. I bet the air smelled wonderful!

    1. Thank you Lisa. For the morning shots I could hardly see what I was doing, and had to clean sticky salt off the camera when we got home. You are right about the smell.

  7. Great photos and description Derrick! Indeed unusual to see so much spume. Jackie can be forgiven for only being born yesterday methinks! 🙂
    Thank you for the great posting to record this – of special interest to me as my Aunt lives in Swanage so probably experiencing similar weather!
    I must talk with her about it! 🙂

    1. That should have said spume – please edit! I have been having trouble with WordPress this week, it won’t display my latest post properly!

  8. At first I thought it was snow – great shots of the spume and how mesmerizing it can be to see it almost floating atop the beach and rock.

  9. Great shots, I love the sea…
    We always talk about the weather here in my State of Minnesota too because it can often seem like several different seasons all within the span of a single day.

  10. I didn’t know about sea flowers. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.
    When I lived in Nigeria, we didn’t talk much about the weather. But here in The Netherlands, it is more than the icebreaker! I guess 4 seasons as opposed to 2, and the variations one can experience in a single day, give rise to plenty chatter.

    You said it best, ‘The capacity to experience such a variety on one day is why we always talk about the weather.’

  11. Living inland and three miles from the sea, which I miss terribly, having grown up nearby it; I always enjoy photos that remind me of its wonders. Beautifully written 🙂

    P.S. I love scrabble. I play it almost every day on a phone app, but I have never played online with other people. It is a game I used to play with my grandmother when I was growing up.

    1. Thank you very much Robin. I used to play with my Dad. We used to set each other up for triples, because we were only interested in the combined score (otherwise I would most likely have beaten Dad) 🙂

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