Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday 27 November 2011

Perhaps she didn't intend to comment on the weather, but as I came out of Canary Wharf underground station into this afternoon's cloudless sky and balmy sunshine, the perky jazz singer busking by the escalators swung into Summertime. The nip in the breeze soon belied her; though there's usually a fair breeze swirling around there, today it was strong enough to set pages of a dropped newspaper performing aerobatics way into the air, indeed it had woken me overnight.

As it happens, my explorations of old photo negatives have turned up the aftermath of another windy night. At the time, I didn't notice more than that what turned out to be the Great Hurricane of October 1987 was a bit loud. Perhaps the unusual warmth in the late evening air beforehand should have been a warning; but it wasn't till the light-switch didn't work the next morning that it registered with me. My battery-powered radio told me there were no trains or underground, but I thought I ought at least try to get into work. There were buses running, on a route that got somewhere near (after the bus had inched its way around fallen trees and fire engines). Needless to say, hardly anyone else had made it in, nor were the phones working, or the power for the limited word-processing machines of the time (a computer all to oneself? on every individual desk? are you mad?), or indeed the lights. So we kept up a token presence in case anyone came to ask us anything, and went home before it got too dark.

By Monday, of course, everything was more or less back to normal in London (and even the "why oh why" brigade had realised that there wasn't much mileage in insisting that They Should Have Done Something). But it was a strange weekend, discovering what damage had been done in the neighbourhood [of course, I realise this is trivial to people who've suffered real hurricanes, but our weather usually keeps within the bounds of a modest sufficiency, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime event]:

No comments:

Post a Comment