Day 27

5.01: “But what’s the weather like off Stornoway?” And thank Christ, each morning, twenty minutes into my day, I find out. This is one of the unadvertised side-effects of early-morning novel writing with Radio 4 purring away in the background: subjects may form an unquenchable addiction to the Shipping Forecast, characterised by displays of anxiety between the hours of 5.15 and 5.20am, and manically reciting the sea areas under their breath.

I don’t really know what it means, all that Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Cromarty, Forties, Forth stuff, but I know it pertains to those in peril on the sea (mariners also being avid listeners to Radio 4).

And I honestly do wake up wondering where the gale warnings are going to be this morning. Watch out Faeroes you’re low, and deepening rapidly. Eyes peeled Humber: occasional rain, moderate or good, occasionally poor.

I gather Fitzroy used to be called Finisterre, which strikes me as a far lovelier name, and that poor old Trafalgar only gets a forecast once a day, with special mentions whenever there are gale warnings. I wonder if sailors down there actually look forward to a gale, because it means they’ll get a mention on the wireless.

Anyway, I’ve now formed a sort of Pavlovian reaction to the strange posh chap, who’s never stepped in so much as a rubber dinghy in his life, intoning gravely about the likelihood of sea monsters and churning whirlpools full of wrecked galleons. I need to hear it every morning, because when I do, I know the day is begun in earnest: the seafarers are all shipshape and Bristol fashion, and I can get down to work with my cares (or, at any rate, one of them) eased.

What would be good would be to have it injected somehow straight into my brain, (though I suspect if such implants were to become available, the Navy and other maritime professions would probably get first dibs).

5.21: To quell the itching of your restless mind, this morning, there are gales in virtually every area and something described as “Low South East Iceland 997 losing its identity by midnight tonight.” Yikes.

6.49: I’m enjoying Iain Banks’ one-man campaign to resurrect the lost art of disgruntled letter-writing. His latest (joint) effort to the Chancellor lacks his customary pith, but he’s got a point that: “the government has effectively written a blank cheque with taxpayers’ money to the banks to finance anything from destructive fossil fuel companies driving climate change, to hostile takeovers that threaten UK jobs.”

More amusing, and no less on-the-money, was his letter to the Guardian in January which just said, “We let the fat boys take over the tuck shop. We shouldn’t be too surprised when we turn up only to discover that the shelves are bare.”

And it’s World AIDS Day today. Give some money to the Terrence Higgins Trust.

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~ by David Thorley on December 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Day 27”

  1. The gale force winds blew your fingers off course when you typed the title of today’s post.

  2. Well spotted: proof reading never my strong point, even when conditions are moderate, good.

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