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Monday, 28 October 2013

A Pretty Big Storm

Sunday TV and radio spent most of the day warning the UK population of a night of doom to come, and the approaching potentially disastrous storm had been given the charming name of 'St Jude'.

My wife being ever resourceful decided to continue her new found (& very welcomed) baking skills and was soon underway making delicious cheese & bacon straws as emergency rations. I think she has got her baking inspiration from our friend Nikki, The Great British Bake Off and my uncanny likeness to Paul Hollywood. (or was it his older overweight brown eyed brother.)

Milford on Sea Storm-28.10.13
click image to enlarge
Eighty mile an hour winds and thirty foot waves were forecast for Milford on Sea, and we were being told that we were all about to face the worst storm since the Great Storm of 1987. The result of that fateful night was that Sevenoaks lost six of their seven famous oak trees, the country was in chaos and destruction, and I arrived at work to find an entire wall of our warehouse missing.
Michael Fish the veteran weatherman was even bought out of retirement to comment. This time he decided to go with the flow and not allay anyone concerns.
National announcements were already being made that Monday morning trains and ferries were cancelled, roads closed and people advised not to travel unless necessary.
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
click image to enlarge
My wife suggested that tonight I may want to sleep on the beach and do some fishing, but I wasn't falling for that one, ...I knew it was not yet fishing season.
Things were blustery as we went to bed, but it takes more than Armageddon to stop us sleeping.
At 4am my bladder alarm clock woke me as normal and I blearily made my way to the little boys room. The storm was swirling around outside but there was no immediate evidence of mass destruction.
Returning to bed, my wife was looking the picture of sweetness & innocence, she was gently purring and only dribbling a little bit.
At 5am things were still merrily blowing outside, then at 5.15am I heard something like a dustbin fly into someones garage door.
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
click image to enlarge
Laying listening, I was also half dreaming that I couldn't fit through a serving hatch. (Bit of a weird dream I admit, but no great surprise as there are few serving hatches I could fit through.)
At 5.30am it was time to face the world. Things all looked in place as I surveyed from the window with a cup of coffee. Even when I went outside for a cigarette (I know, I should give up!) their was no immediate evidence of destruction, just fences wobbling and bushes dancing in the wind. Well, that was until I noticed our neighbours had lost a couple of fence panels in their drive.
The TV was reporting 99 mile an hour winds at The Needles on the Isle of Wight. Across the country reports were coming in of power lines down affecting ten's of thousands of homes, trees down, scaffolding collapses, roads closed and train lines blocked. The storm was quickly moving northwards creating havoc as it went. Brockenhurst now had a tree down causing traffic disruption.
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
click image to enlarge
Around 8am I decided to put on my shorts and tee shirt to go along the seafront to discover the state of affairs for myself. The wind was gusting but not too extreme.
At the seafront shelter I chatted with an intrepid group of birdwatchers keeping a keen eye out for any unusual and unsuspecting birds being blown in to somewhere they should not be. They had not had any luck with their twitching so far. For some reason they didn't believe me when I told them that I had seen an Emu down by The White House.
A guy in a NFDC fluorescent yellow jacket was already on the scene surveying what needed sorting, which was good to see. The promenade was scattered with pebbles blown up from the beach and a group of kerbing along the path edge had been lifted a foot or so away. Apart from that, much was as normal.
Milford on Sea Storm-15.11.09
click image to enlarge
Strangely, it appeared we had missed the worst of things whilst other parts of the country was still feeling the full force. By now our sky was blue with just a few dark clouds.
Indeed, the storm in Milford on Sea on 15th November 2009 feels to have been worse than the storm on 28th Octoer 2013.
On that occasion the sea was wild in the extreme and determined to get over the beach huts and as far inland as possible, everything that was not securely upright was soon on its side and our patio door kept threatening to unhinge itself and relocate to inside the lounge. Two beach huts even disappeared through the concrete bases.
I also recall (with a big smile) when my wife walked the dogs. She was kitted out a little like Chris Bonnington without a beard, and looked to be having a great time as she battled against the fierce wind with two furry kites flying behind her.
Milford on Sea Storm-The Sun 15.11.09
click image to enlarge
A little later my wife arose from her fairy slumberland. As she came into the room she said; "Its a bit windy, isn't it? I can't see much out of those windows". "Righto then, I'll get my bucket" I mumbled.
Milford on Sea Storm 2013 Makes Sky News
Sky's Senior Correspondent David Bowden reported from Milford on Sea on the Hampshire coast as storm St Jude approaches the UK.
To see report on Sky News (It is the video on the right)  Please click here
Gwen Peden, formerly of Gwen's Ladies Fashion on Milford on Sea High Street, dropped us a line to say; "Our daughter Carole was listening to a Toronto radio station on Monday 28th Oct, when a news item came on reporting on the great storm along the South coast of England. To her utter surprise the report was coming from Milford, by a Sky news reporter. She was amazed to hear the latest news from her village. They called it Milford-on-the-Sea, but it was nearly Milford-under-the-Sea!".
Sky New's intrepid reporter David Bowden also interviewed Mark Clayson from The Bay Trees B&B and Guy Roche from The Smugglers Inn, Like any reporter worth their salt, I think he hoped for some form of disaster, but  we all survived fine!  Click here to view - after the adverts of course!

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