I recently visited my parents in Cornwall. On their remote farm usually nothing at all can be heard at night. It provides a real contrast to the frenzy of London. One of the first things I often do on arrival is to stand outside the back door to enjoy the silence and the stars.

However, it just so happened that my visit on this occasion coincided with the arrival of Storm Connor. Instead of the peace I had hoped for, rain lashed against the roof and a door to one of the outhouses banged in the gale all night.

Things were no better the following morning; the wind had whipped up a mighty coastal swell, sending waves crashing into the cliffs and spray high up into the air.
The storm seemed to dominate everything for a while, even forcing us to change our travel plans when the sea washed a portion of the railway line away, but by the following day it had blown itself out.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced complete silence, but I did early that Sunday morning. The noiselessness was almost overwhelming.

Finally, here was the quiet I had been missing, the quiet I had been hoping for after all the noise of London. It had seemed completely out of reach just the day before. The sudden silence felt almost miraculous.

I pray that whatever storms blow into our lives this week, we may find a calm space for reflection in their wake.

Frances Stratton