Weather Or Not

My mother used to say that what distinguished Britain from every other nation was that while we had weather they had a climate. I was never entirely sure what that meant beyond:

(a) she was irredeemably snobbish; and

(b) our weather was a sort of goldilocks experience when compared to those countries who suffered from excessive heat or cold, rain or wind. A decent coat, sensible shoes, appropriate headwear and a disinclination to be communist was all one needed to survive.

Gradually that is changing as the insidious fingers of globalisation seek out out weak spots and, heavens to Betsy, we become more integrated into the wild and woolly weather patterns of the rest. I mean, we even grow award winning wine here. We’re almost French!

If I look back the only severe weather event from before the late 80s was the interminable winter of 1962/63 when we had icebergs off the north Kent coast. Now these weren’t the sort of mountainous conglomerations that sunk the Titanic – they’ve have struggled to scratch a pedalo – but they were ice and they did bob in the sea. I was only six so my memories are limited to there being lots of snow, mum pulling the Archaeologist and me on a sled to go shopping and dad grumbling. Actually scrub that last; 1962/63 wasn’t unique in the broad history of dad grumbles.

I managed to survive my school years with the occasional drenching from summer thunder, my university and college of law years with a bitterly cold January that turned my hands into ornaments and put me off long term motorbiking and my early days as a lawyer in London with more summer rain ruining the occasional cricket match.

Then came the big storm of 1987. A hurricane ripped across southern England, bringing with it 100 mph winds, some fabulous tales of wind damage, a few sad deaths and the inevitable renaming of Sevenoaks as Oneoak. One of the stories I loved was of the woman who that week had taken delivery of a brand new VW Golf. So pristine was it that she’d not plucked up the courage to put it in her garage but on the fateful stormy night she watched in horror as a tree next to the Golf, parked on the roadside, began to batter it like John Cleese when his mini won’t work in a Fawlty Towers episode. Eventually her distress drove her outside, now that she had decided that it needed to be put away. She lent into the wind, lifted the garage door and watched in horror as the door blew out of her hands, the roof lifted into the air, detaching itself from the walls which, in a sort of reverse Ikea, became a kit again and collapsed in on themselves.

I missed the fun, however. The Textiliste and I were in Peru, Lima to be exact and it wasn’t until twenty four hours later that we heard from a very drunk Reuters correspondent what had happened. Frantic phone calls home revealed everyone was safe, though we had to wait until we arrived back to find out if the house was okay.

random shot from Peru – I think this is Cusco….

It was and as a bonus the fence I’d put up that Easter was still standing. I’m not known for my DIY skills so I was more than a little chuffed at this. That self aggrandising glow lasted until I spoke to John my next door neighbour.

“How’s the fence?”

“Good. It stood up well.”

Confused look, followed by laughter. “I put it back up. Didn’t you know?”

Of course he was winding me up. Though it did seem odd that the nails in the fence were newer than the ones I’d used. Maybe the wind had polished them.

Since then we’ve had biblical floods destroying many points west, temperatures above 100F and an absence of significant snow down south for the last few years. And over the last three days two storms, Dudley and Eunice (why are they named like geriatric dance partners when they have the explosive force of a dodgy vindaloo) have battered us.

I suppose, if we are to become properly continental with our weather – and if Brexit was meant to bring us a bonus, surely it was that our weather would revert to the benign 1970s when we didn’t kowtow to some euro dictat – we will now suffer from one of those annoying winds – a sirocco or mistral – that make you pull your shoulder blades so far back they fuse together.

grrr… brrr… and the trees are still dad dancing…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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31 Responses to Weather Or Not

  1. Ritu says:

    What a blowey kerfuffle, yesterday, eh!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, a great overview over the weather conditions in the UK. 😉 Dont worry, here either we get heavy winds from the West, delivered over France, or much more colder and very regularly from the East, directly from Russia. But they call it Bohemian Winds. Lol This on your vidclip is a light breeze, i would say.;-) Keep your ears stiff, and have a beautiful weekend! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    Looks like your garden is still intact and the fences standing. So all is well. Severe weather is here to stay it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I trust your trees survived

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    Wild winds! We see them here quite often. Occasionally they whip the cover off our table and chairs on the patio and move the chairs around. Did you go out to experience this?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the first-hand report. The video was excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    I was raised in the high desert where all sorts of weather events happen without warning and the residents have pretty much the same attitude as your mum! Glad y’all came through in one piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sure I saw a set of false teeth flying past my kitchen window!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. willowdot21 says:

    It was a right story time wasn’t it, lots of trees fences and brick walls cane down round here. We were luck and stayed safe and the house and garden intact! …well with everything else going on something had to go right 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gordon759 says:

    I recall that whenever something interesting happened with the weather Dad would settle down with the writings of Gilbert White and usually discover that exactly the same thing happened in Selborne in 1773.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Widdershins says:

    That video tells a wild and wooly picture. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. arlingwoman says:

    That dance of the trees probably came with quite a bit of howling…Glad your garden survived intact.

    Liked by 1 person

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