Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 25 October 2013
Tie everything down
The BBC weather forecasters have been very reluctant to predict any further than 24 hours, having got it wrong so many times over the last few years - I think they are worried about litigation from people who try to organise outdoor events having been told everything will be fine.
Conversely, they now tell us about any extreme weather about 10 days in advance - probably for the same reason.
I don't think that the dust has yet settled from when Michael Fish said - in the 1980s - that he had been called up by a woman who had heard a rumour of an impending hurricane, and virtually told her to stop being so silly, live on air. The following morning, 100 MPH winds tore the roofs off houses and uprooted trees right across the West Country and beyond.
That hurricane brought me about £30,000 worth of work, replacing stone baubles on the roof of Longleat House, and shells and crystals to the walls of the grotto at Bowden Park. This is what they must mean when they say, 'it is an ill wind which blows nobody any good'.
About a week ago, the BBC Weather Centre began to warn of 80 to 90 MPH winds hitting the Southern coastline of G.B. and they predicted - with satellite-driven, pin-point accuracy - that they will arrive late on Sunday night, causing damage right the way through Monday.
I suppose it is much easier to spot a Shakespearean tempest building itself up into a frenzy somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, than it is to see a bit of drizzle which could make you regret leaving the house without an umbrella.
My £18 garden gazebo - or it's predecessors - have survived winds like this in the past, but cannot cope with a bit of snow settling on them. They just sink to their knees and have to be put down the next morning.
Handy hint: Always walk as close to the walls of buildings as you can in strong winds. Masonry and slates hardly ever land any closer than 4 or 5 feet from them - unless they come from a different roof.