Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Twenty Years On.....The Great Storm

Bloody hell, time does fly...apparently it's twenty years since the 'hurricane'/Great Storm/very high winds....to this day nobody can quite make up their mind....caused havoc across the country.

I was 8 years old at the time and so the memory here is a little hazy. What I do remember is being a little anxious about the huge pine tree which stands nearby as the winds outside became more and more ferocious. For several years after, every time high winds hit our area I would sleep on my mattress on the floor of my parents room, still convinced that the Pine tree would collapse onto the house....It's still standing to this day.

All I really recall is the sound that the winds made...a whistling which could have made my ears bleed.....Having since lived on the 13th floor during some severe stormy weather I don't envy the people who were living in Bognor's only tower block back in '87. My sister, ever diligent and aware of incidents happening around her....slept through the whole thing like the proverbial baby.

The morning after was a school day, dad had somehow managed to get to work and had phoned to say don't bother sending the kids in as the roads were pretty much impassable. Yes, my school was open after the worst storm in over 200 years....fools.

Us kids spent our day checking out the nearby damage. Several large trees had fallen across Aldwick Road near The Pound, windows were impossible to see through due to the layer upon layer of crap covering them, the dividing fence between us and the neighbours was demolished and the back gate seemed to have disappeared....we got off lucky in the area I guess, considering Sussex had seen some of the worst damage in the country.

Generally, I remember the potential for fun after the storm, due to the amount of felled trees which were so much easier to climb when horizontal. The family took a trip to the nearby Eartham Woods shortly after the storm and we were all disappointed as to how much had changed. A huge portion had been completely destroyed and I've only recently returned to the woods which once again resembles a proper woodland area.

More famously, large Estates became unrecognisable, roofs were ripped off flats in Littlehampton and other areas, caravan parks flattened, Seven Oaks became One Oak, power lines were down all over the place and Gordon Kaye (Renie from 'Allo 'Allo) was very nearly killed when a tree struck his car. It was all a little odd for an 8 year old to take in really, but I'm guessing it was the start of my fascination towards weird weather.

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