This has been happening all round the country. A combination of gale force winds, tidal surges and heavy rain have re-shaped the coastline. A massive rock arch at Porthcothan Bay in Cornwall has simply fallen into the sea. In Dorset storms exposed an ichthyosaur skeleton, hidden in the cliffs for 180 million years until Boxing Day. A spectacular rock fall was caught on video not far from the Old Town at Hastings. In the footage columns of rock seems to explode away from the cliffs into the breaking seas below.
The human toll has been grim. Several people have drowned - they have been swept out to sea or fallen into rivers. Homes have been ruined, power lines taken down and whole towns cut off.
There is a lot of water on our planet - about 1.3 billion cubic kilometres. Bill Bryson notes that the Pacific Ocean is bigger than all the land masses put together and oceanographer Philip Ball says that our planet should not be called Earth but Water.
I feel bad for anyone who has been affected by the storms. I pray that the rela-tives of those who have died will be comforted, and that homes will be rebuilt and lives put back together. But there is a simple and sobering lesson in the vio-lence of the storms. During our walk my brother and I came across one other person on the beach. She gave us a cheery hello and as we drew closer she looked around and said: ‘We think we’re in charge but we’re not.’