Friday, October 7, 2011
1987: Just another tragedy
Wasn't it about this time in 1987 that we had the 'big wind'?
I don't remember it being particularly windy that day, nor do I remember seeing the weather forecast in which Michael Fish referred to 'a woman in Wales' and her prediction that a hurricane was coming. Who was that woman? Does anyone know?
What I do recall, however, is being woken up in the middle of the night because I thought someone was throwing something at my window, and it just being the wind beating against it. I thought nothing of it.
When I got up in the morning and put TV-AM on, Britain had been decimated by a hurricane, Anne Diamond gravely intoned. Well, a few trees were down. When I went out to my car a couple of roof tiles were embedded in the bonnet. Perhaps it was worse than I thought. Amazingly enough, I didn't use it as an excuse not to go to work, and at this time and in that job I would have done anything to get out of going. I even had two weeks off with 'tonsisilitis' just prior to this, and got my flatmate to call in for me, as of course I couldn't speak. They were not amused. I spent the week watching daytime TV and going on day trips into central London with friends. I also bought this record.
As I drove from Twickenham to Paddington I was amazed at the damage done. There was little traffic but lots of carnage. Branches and trees everywhere, things displaced out of context. The roof of the post office next to the Shepherd's Bush (Wogan) Theatre was in the road. The office was stills standing and it was just me and the PA. I cold called small business in Shropshire while she typed up my letters. God it was grim. And it was still rather windy outside.
That lunchtime I went up to Selfridges to buy a birthday present for someone and saw Melvin Hayes in the book dept. He'd braved the adverse conditions to do a bit of light shopping too. Good for him.
I rememeber Jacqueline Du Pre died that day. I'd never heard of her.