Stormy Weather – 18th February 2014

No-one could ignore the terrible weather we are experiencing in the Northern Hemisphere right now. Ever since before Christmas, the UK has been hit with violent gales, whilst floods sweep across the Thames Valley, leaving huge areas underwater. It’s scary! I have in fact been meaning to write a blog about this for a while now, though at the same time, just hoping the bad weather would stop.

It is rare to get such extreme weather in England on a regular basis – where in the past, we might have occasionally experienced a single shocking event which would be headline news for weeks! One such event was the 1987 Hurricane, which I have now included in one of the many story lines of my 3rd Book, ‘PLEASURES’ – and so the saga continues where the last one left off, as it charges towards autumn of 1987. Considering the book is set around  the area around London and Kent, it was a more a case of ‘how could I not include it?’

Anyone living in the fictitious rural village of Aldwyck would definitely have been affected, as would the idyllic mansion, ‘Westbourne House’ and the forests surrounding it. This was a notion which inspired me to do a little digging, where I was lucky enough to find an ITN News broadcast on YouTube, which chronicled the whole devastating event.

So how does this climatic event weave it’s way into my story? Well without revealing too much of the plot, here is what I have written so far: ‘He let out a deep sigh and opened his eyes – staring towards the window as it rattled in the gusts. The London Met office had predicted a storm, but they had never anticipated anything of this magnitude. The high winds had already risen to gale force, he could hear it whistling through the trees. But gradually the whistling sound was beginning to escalate into a roar. He clutched his bedclothes tighter, his whole body braced with tension. The storm spiralled upwards, building in its intensity, to the point where he could hardly bear it – yet it was nothing, compared to what was about to happen next.’

Needless to say, as the wind grows, so the devastation begins, as a hurricane now advances from the south coast, before charging its way through the woods and into the grounds. Without warning, several tiles are ripped from the roof of Westbourne House. Some slide off the edge, where they tumble to the ground and smash. While others, caught in a secondary blast of wind are flung mercilessly into the sky, before they cannon into the side of the building, smashing several window panes.

‘… it was with a growing sense of dread, that he could no longer ignore what was going on outside, especially now a hole in the window had brought the high winds coiling into his room, from where the curtains were levitated by their force. Just when he thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, the most terrible creaking, splitting sound erupted from somewhere in the grounds. He yanked back the curtain, feeling the icy blast slap into his face – watching in disbelief, as one of their 50 foot oak trees was literally torn from the earth by its roots…’


Photo of flattened forests.

Photograph shows the devastating effects on woodland after the 1987 Hurricane.

I guess you get the idea! It is in a later chapter where I also describe the devastation which takes place in the surrounding forests. Anyone living in the south east, during this time would remember – whole areas of woods were flattened, including our local Slindon Woods. The hurricane hit London at around 3:00 in the morning. Trees were uprooted, cars crushed, roads blocked, whole acres of woodland were flattened and it brought down power lines all over the country. London was blacked out for the first time since the Blitz.

As I’ve said before, this was one single event which rocked the nation in its magnitude. So how must people be feeling, who have experienced the high winds and flooding which have been taking place, week after week? High winds have battered our coasts, ripping away huge chunks of rock, houses have been ruined and thousands have been evacuated. We have seen some devastating weather patterns which had destroyed peoples lives – now all we can pray is that, this isn’t something that will happen every winter. Otherwise the landscape and culture of Britain could undoubtedly change forever.

About Helen J. Christmas

I am an English author and have written a series of novels, titled 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a gangland thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent; a mystery that ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance, set in a backdrop of organised crime and at the advent of the British rave culture. There are 2 final books in the series, Retribution (Phase One) and Retribution (End Game) where the saga reaches its dramatic conclusion.
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