Is it all a storm in a teacup?

A there stormy day in my home town in porthcawl

'I remember the storms in Lyme Regis where I spent my childhood – and I absolutely loved them.' - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lady B's no-nonsense banter from Cirencester Park

When I was growing up, we always had bad weather in this country. Really bad weather. It was a regular occurrence during the winter.  

And they weren’t just low fronts with a bit of drizzle and a strong breeze; they were proper, full-on gales and storms. There were a lot of them, they’d whip through and, yes, they’d bring down trees and, on occasion, someone would be tragically killed.  

I remember the storms in Lyme Regis where I spent my childhood – and I absolutely loved them.  

My parents wouldn’t see me from dawn to dusk because I’d be out in the winds, walking along the Marine Parade, and watching the exhilarating waves as they crashed over the front.  

The only danger was getting a soaking or being clonked on the head by a pebble that the force of the waves had brought over the promenade. Dodging them was all part of the fun.  

The only time I got hurt was not due to the elements, but my ridiculous choice of footwear. I was wearing a pair of clogs – they were all the rage when I was about 12 – and I managed to twist my ankle during one of the races away from the sea. But that was it.  

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I also remember lying awake in the cosiness of my bedroom, listening to the creaking of the local pub sign as it swayed back and forth in the winds, and I’d snuggle down under my blankets and love every second – but they were just storms, a part of our British winter and we simply got on with it. 

In recent years, the Met Office have decided we should name these winter storms and, to be honest, I think it’s a mistake. It gives them a character, turns them into a ‘being’, and it makes them a lot scarier.  

A low pressure, bringing with it rain and winds is a fact of life. But calling it, for instance, ‘Storm Andrew’ attaches a character to it, and the ability to bring fear is tenfold.  

When I was little, my father introduced into our lives an imaginary monster called ‘The Boon’. I have absolutely no idea why, although I suspect it had a lot to do with discipline, but The Boon was a prevalent part of our growing up.  

When we went out to the back yard to fill the coal scuttle, if he’d said, ‘Be careful, don’t let the monster get you’, we’d have laughed and completely ignored him.  

Instead, he’d say ‘Careful, don’t let The Boon get you,’ and that was a whole different kettle of fish. 

The Boon was a person, The Boon was big and very scary. The Boon meant business, and we’d fly out to the coal shed, fill the scuttle as fast as our little hands allowed, and belt back inside at top speed, furtively looking over our shoulders, banging shut the kitchen door and leaning against it, hearts pounding and giggling with relief that we’d managed to get through the task unscathed. 

It was even worse at High Grange, the family HQ. The Boon was everywhere, and my brother and I were convinced he lived in my grandfather’s dressing room, which was located, rather inconveniently, on the way to our bedrooms.  

We’d walk slowly towards the doorway, edging ever closer to the danger zone, and then sprint past at top speed to the safety of our beds into which we’d leap, holding the blankets above our noses and checking behind us to make sure The Boon hadn’t followed us in.  

So, to my mind, giving a winter storm an identity and a name attaches a, perhaps unnecessary, drama and, while I absolutely see the need to be safe during bad weather, we shouldn’t live in fear of them.  

Batten down the hatches and make sensible decisions; that’s all we need to do.

Follow Lady B on Twitter: @CotswoldLadyB