Sunday, October 27, 2013

Batten down the hatches

We are on amber alert, bracing ourselves for the biggest storm to hit the south coast since 1987 or 1703 or something. Information on how to prepare seems woefully skimpy. Micheal Fish has appeared saying, "Batten down the hatches, ho, ho, ho." Hmm, I seem to remember he was the one who said there was nothing to worry about, when the last one hit and tore the roofs off people houses and sent woodlands spinning through the air. 

What are hatches? And how does one batten? Does he mean close your shutters? We have curtains and blinds. Can't see how that'll help. I suppose in Kansas and the like, where they are used to tornadoes, "batten down the hatches", is probably a shorthand way of saying, "do all your pre-tornado safety stuff", and everyone knows the drill and jumps to it. Not so useful here, where our weather is far less dramatic.

The other useful piece of advice is "avoid woodland areas." We live in a forest for goodness sake. We are literally surrounded by trees. Great whopping big oaks and redwoods and silver birches. It's the equivalent of saying to the population of London, "keep away from built up areas."

I suppose it all comes down to common sense. Don't go out if trees are being torn up in front of your eyes, that kind of thing. Still I wouldn't mind a check list. I've stuffed all the garden furniture, kids' bikes, scooters, toys etc into the summer house, put the dustbins in the garage, laid the big ornamental chimney pots and plant pots on their sides, made sure both cats are in.

The cats have been pretty edgy for days. Skinny sat in the middle of the stairs last night and yowled and yowled. Fat cat ventured out briefly this afternoon to scope out hiding places. I think one of them is hunkered down in the garage at the moment. We went for a short walk earlier, while it was pretty blowy but not too wild. About three horses followed us across the common as if they were hoping we'd take them to shelter. Usually they turn a blind eye to humans. I saw them later in the carpark and I swear they looked like they were trying to get in a car!

The kids are super excited and keep asking "Is it here yet?" I really want to sit down and watch The Wizard of Oz with them but at the same time don't want to freak them out too much.

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