The willows flailed in the wind as we advanced to the lakeside. "Fifteen degrees," John the lake man pronounced, hauling up the thermometer from the water. "Hardy lot, you girls." A crow rose from a conker tree and was flung away by the gale.
Mary was first to the ladder; descending directly to knee-depth, she dived straight in. I was next. "Hesitate and we are lost," I thought. Down in the water and out of the gale, it felt surprisingly warm, at least at first. With a splash, Mal was in too.
Rain on water is much more dramatic at eye level; the way it PLINKs all around you. We had a following wind as we swam down the lake, but looking back the way we came my face was peppered with spray. The great willow hanging by the mermaid sculpture rocked to an especially strong gust, the long trailing branches streaming like crowsfoot in a torrent. The wind picked up water from the surface and flung it across the lake. "Spindrift!" I said. "Who'd have thought it, spindrift in Henleaze...
"...the bird bloke on Twitter..."
"An appropriate place for him to be," Mary interjected...
"Ha! Yes. He said there's fulmars and petrels off Severn Beach this morning. Loads of pelagic birds getting blown in by the storm."
"Pelagic?" asked Mal.
"Deep ocean birds. From the greek. I think."
"That's us. Pelagic."