Twenty five years ago today

Now generally speaking I am not very good at remembering specific days in the past.  In fact I am rubbish at it.

I have no recollection of school.  In fact I can’t remember what I was doing 20 minutes ago.  What was I doing 20 minutes ago?

But I know what I was doing on October 16th 1987.   I can even see myself doing it.

I was standing in a garden in Essex looking at the aftermath of the night before.   And I don’t mean a pile of vomit, a MK1 Ford Escort and a dodgy looking bloke in bleached jeans.

The aftermath of the worst storm to hit England in 300 years.  A storm in which 18 people sadly died.    Fifteen million trees were uprooted.  The damage claimed on insurance policies ran to hundreds of millions.

We had gone to bed reassured by Michael Fish telling us it was going to be a bit windy but not to worry too much.   What actually happened was a battering at up to 122mph at times.   His career never recovered.

My best friend at the time lived in a large house that lost eight enormous trees, all falling across their drive so they were actually trapped in their house until they could cut the trees and get through.   Thankfully they had petrol driven chain saws but it was still two days before they got out.

I was a month into my new live in nannying job, fresh from college, barely 18 and living away from home for the first time.   My boss had woken me up at midnight to tell me he was worried about the monkey puzzle tree in the garden as it was looking like it might fall.

Onto my bedroom which was on the corner of the house.

We woke the children up and all went downstairs to the kitchen where the Aga kept us warm as we watched in horror as smaller trees were ripped out.   The cover on the swimming pool had long been ripped off and was lying upside in next door’s field.

At 2am the monkey puzzle tree did finally secumb to the wind and crashed down, a huge branch smashing into my bedroom.    Thankfully the damage was not as bad as it could have been.   Or indeed was for others.

But I think it was one of the only times in my life I can say I was properly terrified.

So here’s hoping today is a little less eventful.


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  • I remember that night well even though I must have only been nine years old – I was absolutely terrified as I thought there were two burglars in the house who were having an argument because all the doors kept banging. Luckily we just lost a few tiles off the house and a fence blew down but it’s still the only storm I specifically remember.

  • I will NEVER forget my 10th birthday. The village had no power for 5 days, 5 sodding days!