Sunday, 27 October 2013

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

Bewitched, certainly -by my granddaughter, who will be with us later today.  But then, grandfathers are expected to be dazzled by their granddaughters, are they not?

Bothered, that too - but we'll come to that in a moment or three.

Bewildered, definitely - by my local council.  It's too long a story - and really too parochial as well - to go into the reasons (yes, reasons, plural) here but I will say just one thing.  The council has applied to develop a transit camp for travellers - sited in the South Downs National Park, an area renowned for its natural beauty and the so-called green belt which pretty much precludes building or development - into both a permanent and a transit site.  There would be twelve sites for travellers to park their caravans permanently, together with a day room, kitchen etc etc as well as the transit sites where travellers can park for up to three months at a time.  Now, I may be quite wrong, but it seems to me to be an oxymoron to talk of travellers having a permament site.

But back to the botheration.  It's the weather - or rather, the forecast weather.  Yesterday was fine, blowy but fine.  The grass dried enough for me to get the mower out, I hope for the last time this year.  The wind got up more later and we have had a gale blowing most of the night with squally showers.  A couple of times I woke to hear the rain hammering down.  All the same, I stayed dry when I walked the dog this morning.  What is bothering me is what we are supposed to be getting overnight tonight - hurricane-force winds.

I can remember the time, back in October 1987, when Michael Fish, the BBC's chief weatherman, announced on television that a viewer had asked about the hurricane due to come.  There would be no hurricane, announced Mr Fish.

That night, Hollingbury Copse, just up the road from us, was flattened.  Sheets of corrugated iron and whole garden sheds flew through the air.  Large swathes of Stanmer Woods became inaccessible due to fallen trees, although, bizarrely, some parts survived without losing a single branch.

This time round, the weather people are being more cautious and warning of problems.  But hurricanes?  No, not here in England.  Just stiff breezes, but it takes more than a breeze to deter a real fisherman.

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