I’m not a fan of this newfangled notion of giving winter storms names. I think of it as hurricane envy. To make matters worse, the convention of resetting to the letter A at the start of each winter, then progressing alphabetically with each new storm, means it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to experience a Storm Richard. I suppose there might one day be a Storm Dick, but I’m not holding my breath. The powers that be at the Met Office will no doubt avoid that one for entirely different reasons.
All of which means they’ve begun to scrape the barrel for early-in-the-alphabet names to assign to the latest seasonable gust. So much so that the first storm of the current season, which hit the UK last week, appears to have been named after the minor elf-maiden character (and Strider-love-interest) Arwen Undomiel from out of The Lord of the Rings. Whatever next? Storm Boromir? Storm Beren? Storm Balin? (I guess the smart money’s on Storm Bilbo.)
Like hundreds of thousands of other people in the North of England and Scotland, thanks to Storm Arwen, we had no electricity for most of Saturday. Living high in the Pennines, we also had no water as the electric pumps that pump the water up to our place from below also had no power. And our gas-powered central heating was out of commission too, as the boiler also requires electricity. So we spent much of the day huddled in front of a roaring coal fire, in several layers of clothing, reading until the power finally came back on.
There was a second power-cut on Monday, during which we ended up reading by candle-light. It was an experience, and pleasant enough, but give me the wonders of electric light any day.
Being without running water, central heating, electricity, a telephone, and the internet for the best part of a day did make me wonder what it must have been like to live that way all the time. Practically all our ancestors did just that. They had no mod cons. They were permanently off grid. They knew nothing else, yet somehow they got by.
They must have been bored out of their minds.