Wind and Weather

Normal service was resumed today. I was up before the kids and took a morning stroll to the bakers. It’s still cold here and looked like a classic “Hochnebel” day to me. Hochnebel means “high fog” and is used to describe an indistinct grey sky. You can’t actually make out any clouds forms, just a uniform dull and vaguely depressing grey sky. If you are near the mountains on a day like this you will often find that the peaks are in brilliant sunshine while the valleys are miserable under this grey layer. Hochnebel is the perfect word for it.

I would say that Hochnebel days are my least favourite as far as the weather is concerned. If you’re going to have bad weather, then at least make it a real storm so that you feel cosy and safe in the house. So when I left for my early morning stroll, there was no spring in my step… until I saw the bushes at the side of the drive swaying around. At least it will be windy, I thought.

I miss the wind. If you grew up in Yorkshire and spent lots of weekends in the Dales, like me, then you are used to wind. You don’t even notice it really – until it’s not there any more. In this sheltered corner of Germany there isn’t much wind. I miss the number of days that you can take a walk to blow the cobwebs away. When people ask me what I miss most about England I always say “lots of things, but mainly pubs, views and wind.” A few years ago I picked up a Wind Atlas which showed the average wind speeds across Europe, and as expected the North of England was red and the South of Germany was green.

We do occasionally have very windy days here too. If I have time I wrap up and wander up somewhere exposed. That’s easier said than done, too. It’s a great thing that so much of Germany is covered in forest – but it does spoil the view. Even the “Billing” (a little hill in Rawdon, the Leeds suburb in which I grew up) gives you a great view. But here it’s not so easy to find a great view. I suppose I could make a proposal to the local council  “Please chop down some of those bloody trees so I can stand up there on a few windy days”. Probably not quite enough to shift the state politics – especially as we live in Baden-Württemberg, the only German state with a Green Party president.

Ariane understands and appreciates the expression “to blow the cobwebs away” so she understands me when I head out in terrible weather. She’s a Bavarian girl, but I think she has absorbed some Yorkshire over the years. When I asked where she wanted to get married, she chose Yorkshire. She also didn’t complain once when we went walking in the Lake District (OK, not strictly Yorkshire but windy just the same) last year. It was so windy on the top of Cat Bells that we literally couldn’t stand up but we battled up and down (with my Dad) just the same and felt pleased with ourselves in the evening*. On that day we “nuked” the cobwebs.

This morning turned out to be a disappointment, though. The wobbling bushes deceived – there was only a light breeze. Cobwebs are still in place.

Bis morgen!

* I particularly enjoyed the day because not only did my Dad make it up to the summit with us, but I was able to show Emma how to use her coat as a sail between arms raised above her head and lean into the gale. I remember doing this with my brother 40 years ago on Wether Fell above Hawes in the Dales. Lovely!


6 thoughts on “Wind and Weather

  1. Rick Camm

    I too love to ‘blow the cobwebs away’. On Tuesday, having read your post, I took Hux (our springer spaniel) for a walk, it was a lovely crisp night, windy, but not too cold as we strolled up Hunger Hills. I grew up believing the name came about from the sad demise of miners who were trapped in the shaft mines that littered the hillside.. even believing that they were fed baked beans (probably of German origin..even in the 18th century!) through a thin pipe pushed through the collapsed gritstone, where they met a hungry end, and it was many years before I would feel confident enough to be near the woods at night as I always expected to see a troop of emaciated miners, Davey lamps swinging (wrong century) emerging from the dwarf oak woodland.. This night I saw no one, but it was a perfect night for blowing the cobwebs away.. You would have enjoyed it…

  2. Rick camm

    I forgot to say that the name ‘hunger’ derives from the word ‘hanger’ which means a wooded hillside..

  3. Pingback: Alpine Sunshine continued. | Living in Germany

  4. Noel Whittall

    Love it Matthew, particularly the Cat bells bit. However, it reads as if there had been a big family falling-out with me: the ‘made it up with my dad’ bit! Glad to say that there was never a problem …


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