Monday, September 12, 2011

Whether the weather..

There's what you might call a stiff sou'westerly blowing down by the sea today. Huge greeny-sludge coloured breakers with dirty cream tops are hurling themselves onto the shingle in a spectacular display of what looks like very bad temper. It was a magnificent sight as I dodged along, seeing very few other brave walkers. One woman I passed, wrapped against the wind and rain, said just one word as we passed and smiled at each other in complicity: "Wonderful". Indeed it was. And although it's far from gale-force winds today, I was reminded of that night in October 1987 when the whole country was lashed with 'unexpected' gales.

We were living in Cambridge then, in fact had recently moved into our new house, and the gales came as a complete surprise. Son and Daughter were then 8 and nearly 6 respectively, and as the noises from outside were so frightening, they climbed into bed with me at about 5am and we cowered under the duvet until getting up time. Our house overlooked the Cambridge Botanical Gardens, so you can probably imagine the devastation that greeted us. I think the Botanical Gardens lost about half of their mature trees that night. Closer to our home, a huge branch had been ripped from the horse chestnut tree in our garden and lay lengthwise along our balcony. Luckily it hadn't been blown crosswise, or we would have had all the windows smashed and half a tree in our sitting room. Several branches from that and other trees had been blown across our roof and into the Mews outside, but we were relatively untouched. As it turned out, we had a smallish hole in the roof which was attended to without much trouble. All the roads, parks and gardens around were littered with bits of tree and roof, and many people and houses had been injured and damaged. Several poor people died when trees landed on them or their cars or houses. And I remember that my ABF's cat-slide roof was blown right off. It was all very scary and we counted ourselves pretty lucky to only have the inconvenience of closed schools and no public transport for a couple of days. We even had a phone call from the Ex that morning, to check if we were still alive! It was probably wishful thinking on his part, but sadly for him, we were all fine. Hard to believe that was 24 years ago - history really. Let's hope these winds subside without doing too much damage.

Good news on the school front from Grandson. He has had nearly a week at the new school and seems pretty relaxed about it. I've been collecting him after school and if his responses are anything to go by, he's fine. The usual answer to the question "What did you do today?" is "Nothing".. and that's just what I've been getting. He has two new friends, plus a girlfriend (not sure of her name, but she is "beautiful") and he is eating all his packed lunch every day. So far, so good...

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