Country diary: hammering hail and a rare sight of crystalline beauty
Comins Coch, Ceredigion: A single speck, no larger than an apple pip, settled on my sleeve – showing against the dark fabric as a tiny, perfect hexagon
Dull, snow-stained cloud over the hills showed the winter storm approaching, rapidly, from the east. When it hit the village, driven by a gale that tore at the heavy boughs of the beech trees, the air temperature was hovering close to zero. What fell wasn’t the mist of soft, slow flakes from remembered childhood, but a hammering array of dry, hard fragments of ice that bit and stung before the relentless wind.
Rattling on to the path, it scrunched underfoot where it settled, while the breeze swirled crisp dry leaves into tight vortices before scattering them again. With the arrival of the strong wind, the sense of cold was intense, numbing my forehead where hair no longer protects it.