The alarm went off at 7.30am as usual. My phone beeped. It was a message from my boss. The office is closed today as Hurricane Ophelia thunders towards Ireland.
My heart soared with joy. Naturally I am concerned that people are safe, and that the damage caused by this weather event is not too devastating, But for self-centred and petty reasons, I was happy. There won’t be too much working from home for my good self today, seeing as I left my computer at work on Friday. What a shame.
I turned on my home computer to see news that Ophelia had arrived in Munster. None of my family who live in the west are at work today. The code red weather alert was first issued for the West of Ireland yesterday, before being extended to the entire country. The buses and trains are all cancelled, so I guess it’s fortunate that the office is closed.
I am slightly suspicious about how apocalyptic weather warnings have become since we started naming storms. Maybe I am imagining it, but in my day (last century) we’d complain about a gusty wind. More recently the descriptions have been far more ominous. Then again, maybe the effects of climate change are getting more apparent. I’m no meteorologist though so I could be talking nonsense.
After my breakfast of Weetabix and a gallon of tea, I contemplated what I should do on my unexpected (but very welcome) day off. A coastal walk seemed a bit foolhardy. With warnings that the wind might reach 100km per hour, staying indoors might be wisest.
I read my book, checked on the news websites for updates, and started to feel bored. Surely it couldn’t be so dangerous out there in the bluster, that I couldn’t go for a walk? I’d just stay away from the river or steep ledges.
Then disaster struck. I realised that there were no biscuits in the house. This was drastic. How was I meant to endure the most serious weather crisis in living memory without essential life-saving supplies? I can survive without candles and a primus stove. But a storm without biscuits was simply not worth contemplating.
Teresa Mannion’s warning to not take unnecessary journeys clearly did not apply in this instance.
I would have to go out.
I put on my coat and hit the road.
It was very eerie. I live in a neighbourhood which is buzzing with people during the work week – it’s the financial district. Thousands of people descend here every day to earn their crust.
Today the streets were desolate. The offices shut. The cafes closed. Even the eateries were locked up (hopefully for good in their case).
The three shops closest to my house were barricaded. I was a bit peeved. Yes it was windy, but wasn’t anyone else thinking about the biscuits?
There was nothing else for it – I’d have to go to the city centre to see if there was any sign of life. The omens were not good. Every place of business between my house and town was shuttered.
It felt like Christmas. No traffic on the normally busy streets. No people on the pavement. All the shops were closed.
The wind was intense as it whistled through the streets. Yet the sun was shining. It was all very bizarre.
Eventually after quite a search I found a Spar shop that had decided to brave the elements and open for business. The queue inside the shop was winding. It was so long that it had doubled back on itself.
I picked up a packet of Jammy Dodgers and a frozen pizza for dinner. This was pretty much all that was available for an evening meal. People were clearly stocking up.
I sallied forth into the wind, to go home.
As I sit in my living room, the wind howling outside my window, I am typing furiously, while wiping the crumbs from my sweater.
Wrap up safe folks. It’s gusty out there.