During UK hurricane season

November 21, 2017

hurricane20171121_01332012was whatever I picked up off the floor.

I looked like someone who had dressed in the dark.

From September until the beginning of November there were days I was piling on or peeling off bits of clothing every hour or so as the weather veered from sun to rain, to wind to sleet and back to sun again.

Discarded (and, admittedly, reused) items were tossed on to a compost-like mound on the bedroom floor, a mound the dog immediately staked out as the best bed in the world, thereby adding a weather-seal layer of pug hair to my hurricane wardrobe.

It was all very unattractive not to mention unhygienic but it was Hurricane Lite compared to conditions on the other side of the Atlantic. There Category 4 and 5 storms killed hundreds, destroyed entire communities and caused $188 billion worth of damage in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean: the costliest storm system in history. Puerto Rico still hasn’t recovered.

British forecasters, barely able to contain their excitement, predicted Armageddon, ‘an autumn of chaos’, but when Arlene, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Ophelia et al finally passed through, it was briefly and without much interest, like travellers with a few hours to kill between long-haul flights.

There were losses, real losses – three storm-related deaths in Ireland, and extensive flooding along the country’s western coasts –but relatively speaking there was no sense of cataclysm or excess and as I was burrowing through the clothing mound – displacing the dog in the process – for a pair of wearable thermal socks I was reminded of the tornado that hit Birmingham in 2005. Roofs were torn off along with more than 1,000 trees and 19 people injured but its most enduring legacy was a photo meme of a trash bin that had been knocked on its side, captioned WE WILL REBUILD.