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.

Batten down the hatches.

23 comments:

  1. I still prefer the stone method of forecasting, if the stone be wet then it's raining etc.....
    John

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    1. ... and if you can't see the seaweed, it's foggy.

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  2. Nice. Thanks for that advice. Though it is more the sheets of corrugated iron and eucalyptus limbs we have to avoid around here.
    I live in a 'four seasons in one day' zone on a corner of the continent and the weather folk often get it wrong. everyone just gets philosophical about it after a while.

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    1. I had to dodge some sheets of corrugated iron here in Bath once. It almost ended up with Crinkly-Cut pedestrians.

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  3. sounds like we are in for it then. Top of a hill, just 12.5 miles from the sea as the crow flies, siege weather indeed!
    Plenty of wine and firewood, we'll survive :-)

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    1. Sounds like my idea of a cosy idyll, just so long as the cat is in.

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  4. The evening after the 'Hurricane', I went to the pub' with a roofer friend. He ordered 'Champagne all round', and although it was accepted, he received some pretty dubious looks (quite rightly).

    In the Scottish Isles I believe they say 'If you can't see the mainland, it's raining. If you can see the mainland, it's about to rain'.

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    1. In Wales, replace 'mainland' with 'hills'.

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    2. Hmm. That might have been a little too entrepreneurial, or at least to obviously such.

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  5. Batten down the hatches and get that single malt out ..... if it arrives or not, you won't know much about it !!!! XXXX

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    1. No, I am not touching the single malt for a while...

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  6. Like that last tip Tom - we might all find it useful next week.

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  7. Love the HANDY HINTS section
    Perhaps a blog just on those
    Now I'd enjoy that

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    1. I might just do that. Now, what should I call myself?

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  8. It's pretty bad here already. My waterproof trousers have been doing their MC Hammer impersonation.

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    1. They're supposed to be dry on the inside, not the outside.

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  9. The forecast doesn't look too bad for my area, maximum of 42mph gusts on Monday.

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    1. Still quite gusty though. Don't wear a short skirt.

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  10. We've come to rely on the old methods of weather prediction...we go outside. And when we want the wind to stop, we go inside. We're brilliant like that. And yet I never thought to share my tips publically as you are now. You are a true humanitarian Tom.

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    1. Yes, the old country ways are still the best. Going outside on our street means you are more likely to be killed by a cyclist going fast on the pavement in the wrong direction than you are to be hit by falling masonry.

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