Stormy skies

After the warmth and sunshine of yesterday, today was cool and showery, with spells of hail. But we didn't let this stop us getting out and about. After breakfast we went for a walk with J and P, heading out from the village, over the hill and along the estuary to end up at the restaurant at Powderham Castle for lunch. On our way we admired ancient oaks in the parkland, as well as two huge holm oaks and a splendid avenue of mature Lucombe oak, which was originally bred at a nursery near Exeter. There was a huge herd of fallow deer, and I spotted a heronry in the parkland.

In the afternoon Pete and I went to Dawlish Warren for a longer explore. I was excited when we found Upright Chickweed, a new plant for me, and spent some time examining many of the other tiny annual species flowering in the dune grassland. Severe erosion of the dunes meant that part of the footpath was closed and we had to walk along the beach. It was hard going where there was soft sand, but there were lots of shells and other treasures to find, including a huge bluish jellyfish and a dead spotted dogfish. There were also splendid views of stormy skies and rain showers out at sea. We'd got right to the end of the dunes, with no shelter in sight, when a heavy hail shower drifted over us - painful but fortunately not too long-lived.

Back home for more gin and tonic and a delicious meal cooked by J, as P was out chairing a Rotary meeting. A very good day!

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