The warnings have gone out, the South of England, that's us, are to be battered by hurricane force winds and heavy rain starting this evening and into Monday … I know they have to err on the side of caution, but is it really going to be all that bad? Lovely here at the moment. Michael Fish has advised we batten down the hatches this time!  

I have been thinking about that storm, 25 October 1987, and how it affected my little life back then, I realise sharing this with you gives away just how ancient I am, certainly makes me feel it when I count up the years! However, it was really pretty dramatic at the time. 

I lived in a cute, but rather damp little flat above some old stables, on a private estate, where I worked as the stables manager. My employers, who lived in the big house, just a bit further up the drive, were away at the time. 

I don't remember much about the day, but certainly the evening was fairly wild, wet and windy. I had lit my little wood burner and was watching telly with my beloved dog Brindle on the sofa next to me, aware that there was a bit of a hooley going on outside. I had gone to bed, but couldn't sleep as the wind was making such a racket, there were large trees within feet of the back and side of my bedroom. 

In the early hours the burglar alarm went off at the big house,  I threw on a coat over my PJs and went outside, where I met the housekeeper, who lived in the flat next to mine, and together we fought against the elements to the house, to meet the police, who were apparently on their way to re-set the alarm or deal with intruders or something, no self-respecting bugler would be out in that weather would they?  We could hardly stay on our feet, and we had to shout at each other over the terrific roar of the wind. The power went off, and with it the alarm and having waited for what seemed like ages we abandoned the big house to return to the safety of our beds - the police never showed up.

As light dawned it was clear that this had been no ordinary storm - no way was my trusty Fiat Panda  (stop-it) going to leap over all those fallen trees in the drive, so Brindle and I set off on our expedition the mile or so down the hill to the yard - took a very long time, there were so many trees to clamber over. Thankfully, all the horses were safe and sound, as were the buildings.  No power of course, or phones - just my little battery radio, giving out regular updates of damage and lives lost as a result of hurricane storm winds over the South of England.

For three weeks I had no power, which meant no hot water or cooker either, thankfully I had a little pan in which I cooked bacon and stuff on top of my little wood burner, no shortage of firewood of course. I scrounged hot baths from various friends, many kindly fed me too, bless them. 

My lasting impressions of that great storm was the terrific roar of the wind, and it's awesome power. Once out and about, especially on the horses, the sight of all those beautiful trees, flattened like matchsticks for miles around the hangers of Selbourne, and the top of Noah Hill looking like a bald head.

I do hope they've got it wrong this time ..  we'll tie down a few things today,  put away some garden furniture and pot plants, and I might move Boris the Morris (car) to a safer place than his current abode in part of the field shelter.  I may decide to keep the mums and crias in, I think the other pacas will be OK - they will probably huddle together in the middle of the field,  we have trees everywhere, but when ever we've had gales before they seem to stay away from the trees.

Anyway, good luck where you are ...  keep safe and stay off the roads as much as possible, and lets hope its all a storm in a teacup!

1 comment:

  1. Hope it was gentle with you - I'd done a bit of extra tying-down of our shelters, and it wasn't too bad here, but seems to have been worse towards the south coast.