Barney, the not so friendly storm

A storm. EMN-151123-100638001
A storm. EMN-151123-100638001

TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

Was Barney rattling through your rafters last week? Now that the Met Office is giving storms a name, as they do in the US, we have someone to blame for the weather: this should take the heat off the TV weather forecasters.

The name Barney reminded me of Fred Flintstone’s best pal or that large purple dinosaur with the annoying voice: either way, there was a primeval force at work – well, he tipped over our garden swing seat as he whipped through Holbeach.

My husband preferred to picture the storm as a set of arrows, flicked from the wrist of Dutch darts player, Raymond ‘Barney’ van Barneveld.

The previous week, we experienced the effects of Abigail. I hadn’t appreciated the (unintended?) humour of ‘a big gale’ crossing the country until a friend pointed it out.

Which makes me wonder about the names that have been chosen for subsequent storms? Suggested by the general public and selected by the Met Office, the storms, after Abigail and Barney, will be Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.

We can look forward to a winter of wordplay as the media will take full advantage of the personified weather.

I am sure they are already working on their front pages, keen to print ‘Horrid Henry wreaks havoc’ and ‘Gone with the Wendy’.

One memorable storm happened some years ago when we were camping in France. Thankfully, it was not proper, under canvas, camping. This was camping for wusses, in a mobile home. A huge storm was forecast one night and we were praying that our mobile home did not live up to its name.

All the cars were moved to the car park outside the campsite in case of damage from the numerous trees towering above us. We went to bed and waited anxiously for the storm to pass; Dougie clutching our passports, money, car keys and torch in case we needed to make a frantic escape.

The storm was very scary and, as we peered out of the window, we could see lots of white plastic chairs flying across the sky: it was like a scene from The Wizard of Oz.

The next morning, as the winds subsided, we ventured out. Campers and their cars were all safe but, unfortunately, the kids clubs had blown away.

Yes, the three huge circus-like tents had been plucked from their moorings and deposited somewhere in the Loire countryside.

I suspect if this happened now, in the UK, with our new collection of storm names, the headline might be ‘Clodagh causes chaos in campsite: kids club calamity’.

Any other suggestions? If you feel the urge to create some headlines with our new storm names, do share them with me.