In October 1987, Michael Fish a now infamous BBC weather presenter, told the UK not to worry, there wouldn’t be a hurricane, but there would be some strong winds further south in France and Spain. In the event, winds of up to 115mph caused £1 billion of damage and 15 lives were lost.
In my city, many trees came down including a number in Heavitree Park. When I was five years old, my daily walk to and from school took me through the park and I remember those huge, majestic trees standing guard over the gentle sloping landscape gardens. Each September I’d collect conkers from under the horse chestnuts and watch the squirrels collecting nuts for their winter larders. You can imagine how upset I was all those years later when I walked Jassy, my golden retriever through the park, a few days after the hurricane that wasn’t going to happen.
If you look closely you can see the stump of one of the old trees, see how big it was?
The park has never been quite the same for me, but I can walk there without tears now. Thankfully, a few of the old trees, including these above, survived that dreadful night.
A couple of years later the council planted a small grove of birch, carefully fenced off to protect them at first. They have now grown to maturity and are a lovely sight. So yesterday I walked Dido and Daisy, the border terriers early in the morning, before the November fog had cleared. They chased the squirrels – futilely of course, and I only had my phone camera but I had to share the young trees with you.
I hope they never have to stand up to a hurricane.