Sunday, 4 November 2012

A dark and stormy Storytelling Sunday

It is a dark and stormy morning. I was woken today by the rain lashing the house so I got up, made myself a cuppa and started reading the stories told by Sian's band of Storytellers. And it reminded me of 2 other occasions, many years ago.

The first was the night of 16th October 1987; the night before my 17th birthday, I heard nothing. In those days I slept soundly and nothing would wake me. When I got up in the morning there was no sign in our street of the havoc that had been wreaked elsewhere in the South East.
File:Footbridge over brook leading to Woking Park - geograph.org.uk - 1530270.jpg
I was at 6th form College then and I used to walk through the park to get there every day. On the morning of 16th October, I saw huge trees uprooted and blocking the path. Why I was allowed to go that particular morning, I don't know. I can only assume that my parents slept equally deeply and anyway Michael Fish had apochryphally assured us that there would not be a hurricane.
The next day was Saturday, my birthday, and the day I went to my Saturday job at Wickes DIY store (the subject of a previous storytelling Sunday, here). We had no power. Everything had to be done manually. At Wickes, nothing was marked with barcodes or even prices. The tills worked on code numbers - different for every item, and by this time I had been promoted to supervisor and spent the majority of my time finding code numbers. Without a computer, I had to walk around the shopfloor all day to find these numbers, and I still remember that fencing started 11 and guttering started 10. We sold a lot of fencing and guttering that day, and a large number of calor gas bottles, as many homes were still without power.
That's my memory of the 1987 storm. I don't at any time remember being scared, just rather inconvenienced, but then I wasn't out driving in it.
 
And that probably explains my reaction to another Big Storm a couple of years later. By this time I was at college. The storm happened during the day, and again all the power on campus went out. Being students, and deprived of daytime television, a group friends and I decided to go into the cenntre of Chichester to see what was happening. This time I was scared. there were tree branches blowing across the roads and we had to hold onto each other for support. We made it as far as McDonalds and retreated in there for a Big Mac until we were brave enough to go back to the campus. I think I actually had to write an essay, for want of any other entertainment that afternoon!
 
 
An hour later, the storm is still raging outside my window, but my children are sleeping soundly after their late night at the firework display last night (in the same Woking Park). I am the only person awake. I'm going to make another cup of tea and read some more stories. Why don't you do the same?

17 comments:

Amy said...

I love how you have tied the stories together today Kirsty - well done, very entertaining reading!

Missus Wookie said...

Fun - Wookie & I slept through the 1987 and were only a year or so older than you. Fireworks were around here until late too last night.

I had trouble with your linky :( but found you :)

Mary B said...

I do remember the storm of 1987 but as I was not affected it didn't make much impression on me.
Enjoy your cuppa and a good read.

I had trouble with your linky too but came in through another channel. Think you have taken part of the Http bit into your blog address

alexa said...

Glad you survived both - and a great reminder of just how the lack of electricity affects business and work life too. I'm on my third cup of the day now ;).

furrypig said...

I am visiting my parents in Essex and it is really raining here shame as we wanted to go out to the sea side this afternoon! Hope it improves in Woking!

Irene said...

Stormy memories indeed. I love how you have connected up your stories around the theme. It is amazing how one can remember things like the till code numbers, years later. I can still remember the telephone number of the company of my first ever job back in the 60's. Crazy isn't it!

Sian said...

Kirsty, you have taken me back so perfectly to 1987! We got engaged about a month before the storm and I was living in a student house and I remember getting up and turning on the tv for a bit before going out to lectures. You have brought me right back there. I love it.

Thanks Kirsty

Jennie Hart said...

Great stories woven together so well. Thank you.

humel said...

Yes, as others have said, I particularly like how you've woven the stories together with the present day :) And fascinating to hear about a post-storm day from a DIY shop point of view!

Abi said...

Beautifully told stories. The first storm sounds scary- amazing that you slept through it!

Cheri said...

I'm a bit surprised that your store remained open without power. So much around here has been closed the entire past week after Sandy! But I can picture it.

Lisa-Jane said...

Seamless connections there Kirsty, well done, it made for a great read. I wish I could sleep through storms but even light rain wakes me up. I can imagine Wickes being chaotically busy in the aftermath but I didn't realise they relied on computers so much back then.

S said...

Interesting to hear about the storms you remember. Driving in bad weather adds whole other scary dimension, doesn't it.

Melissa said...

Isn't it interesting that storms don't scare us nearly as much if we haven't heard everyone else talking about them or been right outside in it?!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Just getting around to reading stories now - on Monday morning with a cup of coffee. Such a great reminder of wandering around to see storms and their aftermath.
Rinda

Jimjams said...

I was living abroad in 1987 and missed it all! TFS

Chipper said...

I love storms - as long as I am safely tucked up indoors and it isn't too bad :-) I remember very few really big storms. I liked how you linked all the rain and stormy weather from various times into one story.