Monday, 5 March 2018


I don’t know if you ever saw “The Day After Tomorrow” a 2004 film about a superstorm that engulfed the Northern Hemisphere in a second ice age.  North America is evacuated  and its population flees south to Mexico which, in delicious irony, closes its borders. Apart from Dennis Quaid the cast is pretty well unknown and looks convincingly chilly…that’s a post- apocalyptic New York below.

I was gripped by the plausibility of the horror when I saw it…at least the first part… as the storm did its work.

Last week I thought about the film again as the Siberian weather swept across Britain in what seemed like a kind of divine punishment for prevarication on Brexit. There was a photograph of the snow clouds hitting London that CGI couldn’t have bettered.

My first pragmatic reactions to all the fuss was to behave like Dennis Quaid – called Jack Hall in the film – a great name for a hero – and get out and teach the beast a lesson.

Life had to go on as usual. But then I slipped on black ice near the house and in a graceless pratfall landed on my head on the tarmac. A real banana skin moment when your life flashes before you accompanied by a symphony of bad language. I limped home to sympathy and a ban on going out until the ice had gone.

So life has slowed down and I’ve been thinking about how much better we’ve got at dealing with disaster. There’s a myth that amongst we overly self-critical  Brits that we can’t cope with a bit of “weather”. Just go to Germany or America when the weather turns nasty. They stay at home apart from the odd intrepid skier. Their world stops. I’ve been impressed by our weather forecasts , by the frequency of updates and by how hard the transport system has tried to keep up with the game.

Maybe we should all take stock.

We are such a miserable bunch sometimes. Yet we are one of the most resourceful and independently minded countries in the world. Let’s use this climatic hiatus to plan what our business will do that’s amazing this summer. Or what painting, poem or novel we’re going to create.

The prospects for tomorrow are so amazing that my head hurts…or maybe that’s just the tarmac speaking to me.

Storm Emma  is on the way and all I can think about is that irritating minx Jane Austen’s heroine Emma Woodhouse whose sickly father Mr Woodhouse is one of my favourite, ghastly, self-obsessed characters in literature. His attitude to alcohol is especially irksome:

… what say you to half a glass of wine? A small half-glass, put into a tumbler of water? I do not think it could disagree with you."

But there isn’t anything that weather can throw at us – we Jack Halls – that we can’t deal with – after all this is just a bit chilly. Nothing to worry about.

No comments: