"Pass" is pretty much what it did do. The predicted hurricane-force wind. OK, it rained heavily yesterday late afternoon and during the evening, and the wind got up, but not what we were warned to expect. It can't have been - at least, not right here - as there is no structural damage at all that I have seen and only one branch thicker than an inch that had fallen in the wooded part of the park. Leaves a-plenty, and twigs, but nothing that would do more than make one say "ouch" if they hit one on the head - except for the one branch. Our apple tree has fallen and I will have to call in tree surgeons to remove it, but given the way it fell a couple of weeks ago it is hardly surprising that it has gone again.
Having said that, our local paper reports on its web site that winds reached 99mph, there were no trains until at least 9am, bus travel has been disrupted (not surprising along the cliff-top coast road) and police report 125 trees down. A boy was washed off the beach at Newhaven and power lines are down across the county, including part of Hove.
I have been thinking quite a bit over the last few days of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her complaint about her phone being bugged by US agents. My first reaction when I heard of this was, "Did she really not think this might happen?" Surely, I reasoned, she would not be so naive as to think that only non-allied countries would want to know what was going on in the minds of the German authorities - or those of any country, for that matter. Then I wondered if she was just upset that the German security service had not managed to do the same to the American government so her complaint was just a fit of pique. Of course, her complaint may very well be just for show, for home consumption, as it were.
One of the things that bothers me most about the state of the world today, at least, the state of things in England, is the huge amount of snooping that goes on. It's not just phone hacking. Think of the number of closed-circuit cameras there are operating in any town, the vast majority installed by non=government agencies over which few people have any control. There are cameras constantly watching shoppers in supermarkets, department stores - and even corner shops and petrol filling stations. We are told that if we are doing nothing wrong we have nothing to fear. But that is not the point. Yes, I know that these cameras do help to solve crimes - but I object to being watched over by all those "big brothers". My private life - even the bits of it that I live in the public view - should be private and is the business of nobody else.
(End of rant.)
At least the storm has cleared things a bit. This was the view from the bedroom this morning. The wind was still fairly strong but at least we had some blue sky.