Friday, December 08, 2006

Kensal Rising

I have no food in the house. This is monumentally bad planning on my part because there is some kind of typhoon happening outside. Earlier today, a tornado hit Kensal Rise. As far as we know no gingham-frocked teenagers with terriers in picnic baskets have been airlifted to Oz, although a planeload of backpackers did embark in the company of some friends of Dorothy aboard a Qantas flight earlier in the day.

Terrified Geeta Patel told the BBC shortly after the twister departed,

‘I don’t believe it – a tornado, at this time of day.’

Well, precisely. Everyone knows that tornadoes are only permitted in the late afternoon around teatime. It is, in fact, an offence for a dangerous weather phenomenon to appear before 4.30pm. This law was in acted in 1933 after a series of unauthorised whirlwinds disrupted play at Lords. The twisters severely altered the character of the pitch giving unfair advantage to the visitors. One deposited the English opening batsmen in London Zoo where they proceeded to demolish a team comprising a white rhinoceros and two angel fish, briefly salvaging national pride. The rhino, however, was unwilling to concede the Ashes and no one was in the mood to argue.

Britain doesn’t normally do extreme weather, preferring to specialise in perennially inclement. That, and the fact that there are no poisonous snakes or spiders, is its most attractive feature. Everything in Australia from the largest animal to creatures that are virtually invisible has designs on despatching you to the hereafter. Even creatures that you assumed were harmless turn out to be threatening. Last year I told my niece when we were hand feeding dolphins in knee deep water at Tangalooma that the spotted wobbegong shark circling our legs was not dangerous only to read later that they can ‘give you a nasty nip’. Fortunately wobbegongs are afraid of dolphins who take a dim view of being disturbed during their evening meal. I have twice come face to face with the hypnotically attractive but indisputably deadly blue ringed octopus and once thought almost nothing of swimming over the same species of stingray that killed Steve Irwin. The weather, it goes with out saying, is always out to claim a scalp or two.

I am not unduly concerned by storms. In fact have survived several tropical cyclones – which I don’t especially recommend but they have a certain near-death fascination if you are in the eye of one. I even slept through the great storm of 1987 only to wake and find my flatmate rendered incontinent with fear. It was a shame to have missed that. Then again he was afraid of house spiders. I have also slept through two earthquakes in Japan and remained able to conjugate Spanish verbs during a third along the Costa del Sol. I even managed to sit through The Day After Tomorrow – although that did require a different kind of grit.

As I understand it, there are moves afoot to ban all types of weather that fall into the climactically extreme end of the meteorological spectrum on health and safety grounds. Insurance companies are said to be in unanimous support of the move as a contra-flow in terms of cash is distressful to shareholders and can put the exponential trajectory of senior executives’ gargantuan salaries at unacceptable risk. The people who compile The Times Rich List are also said to be not best pleased when acts of God interfere with their placings which they have spent the best part of a year on. They would obviously prefer as little disruption to the status quo as possible.

Weather must be made to understand that certain checks and balances have to be put in place to make it more accountable to stakeholders. The British economy is dependent on tourism but there is nothing to be gained from diluting our natural appeal by over-inflating our menu of attractions. If people want tornadoes they will go to Kansas. The twister that hit Birmingham in the Midlands last year all but caused a diplomatic incident so I imagine Topeka will take a dim view of this morning’s events in NW6. We should just stick to what we’re good – drizzly rain.

All that concern about climate has made me hungry. Oh, I forgot, I have no food in the house and there is a hurricane in Hackney. I wonder if The Great Wall can deliver by boat…

comemmorative fridge magnet from


Groucho said...

It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.

hairdresser said...

I feel sorry for those poor people but this is very funny.

Sue George said...

Are you now or have you ever been a professional newspaper columnist?
If not, the world is the poorer for it.

That's so pants said...

Welcome Sue George. You and I are now first best friends. My real best friend never reads this blog.