Big ole windy Bertha. I loved her. The wind was going mad on the tree tops outside. I do live next to Epping Forest; am proud to say. I used to live on a windy and very nasty cold northern island, home of my ancestors. The wind used to lift me and howl across the flagstone roof looking for any broken skylight into which she could swoop and cause havoc. My washing was once dragged across to a neighbouring uninhabited island, torn on the barbs of fields and telegraph poles. I loved that wind. It swept and hissed and moved flower pots and polytunnels from the hillsides into the village. The pier master would radio in and warn fisher folk to stay home and batten down the hatches. Ferries stopped running and school students were told to stay put in the morn. New residents dreaded having any reason to be flown into the mainland hospital for any treatment, baby-birthing, canal-dredging: older people were stoic in the face of war and famine.

Today I stayed in and watched television as the war continued in Gaza. I’d watched 9/11 unfold in the same atmosphere, in a place which couldn’t be controlled. Nature was at her best both on the windy island and in urbania today.

I left New Orleans a few months before Katrina struck. Unbelievable. I am more than sure our breakfast waitress with her great smile was swept away with her bowls of grit and deep-fried sugared doughnuts. And then the horses. There were horses always floating and bloated with great yellow gnashers stuck in the bits. I met not one jazz musician although I searched and searched.


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