In My Day
the ramblings of Hubert James

In my day it was about this time of year that the weather could get changeable. Not like the extremes we get nowadays but still things like an unexpected snow fall and of course, sudden showers of rain.


It was rare to get very strong storms or high winds. I can only remember one day when I woke up to damage from a gale. My old Dad had proudly put up a small greenhouse in the autumn and stocked it with various plants but that morning we looked out the kitchen window and it had gone. It was sitting calmly in the middle of next doors lawn as if it belonged there. It had been lifted over the chicken wire fence and sat down with only one broken pane. “People who live in stones, shouldn’t throw glass houses”, Dad announced. He was missing a marble or two, poor chap.


In my day nobody bothered giving storms names. We didn’t want to get that friendly. Although, we did have a meteorologist called Walter ‘Windy’ Miller living down the end of Thrapston Road. He had one of them white slatted boxes in his garden full of scientific measuring instruments. He could tell you what the weather was going to be and some of us thought he had some magic power. He ran this strange sideline of baby naming. He reckoned he could look at a newborn and tell what the perfect name would be for it. Young couples who lacked the imagination to come up with names themselves would use his skills.


“You got a Stan, there,” he’d confidently pronounce. “Definitely a Stan.” Mind you he wasn’t always right . My class at school had a batch of Susans, and there were umpteen Johns and Davids, very confusing. Windy reckoned that he was the one who came up with the idea for naming hurricanes and storms. He said he wrote to the United Nations suggesting it.

Course, this naming business seems to give the storms a personality and makes then more frightening. They never use a name like Mavis or Eric, do they.


Do you remember that scare a couple of years back when that storm caused havoc in Washington DC. and damaged the White House then set out across the Atlantic heading for us? I know it fizzled out in the end but at the time we were all panicking about the arrival of Stormy Daniel.