At the beginning of each show, late entertainer Bruce Forsyth greeted his audience with a catchphrase “Nice to see you. To see you……” which his viewers would dutifully respond to with a raucous cry of “Nice!”
Well after yesterday’s torrid time at the hands (if indeed gales possess hands) of Storm Eunice, it’s fair to say the UK public won’t have spent their Fridays offering the greeting “Nice to see you. To see Eunice!”
Causing devastation in her wake, a high maintenance Eunice produced an off the scales hissy fit to, like Viking invaders from centuries past, ensure history making notoriety through wanton carnage….. Well the pillaging elements of the marauders activities; not the raping, which I guess is only possible for gales via metaphor.
Anyhow, as this meteorological wrecking ball’s destruction played out in front of me, in addition to sympathy for the victims who’d lost loved ones and suffered property damage, I pondered just how these storms were named.
After extensive research (well, three minutes on Google), I discovered the Met Office and Met Eireann select each nome d’plumes using an alphabetical list of monikers chosen by the British and Irish public.
To distract the public from their chagrin from having roof tiles blown off onto the car bonnet, displaced fence panels flattening prize roses, or having their best trilby blown into the next village, both meteorological centres invited the public to provide names for UK and Irish windstorms.
I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed to learn of such an underwhelming manner in which these forces of nature acquired pseudonyms.
Part of me hoped the name was resultant from a heated argument by the proud ‘parents to be’, Frank from the Met Office and Siobhan from Met Eireann.
The moniker chosen during a conference call between London and Dublin. A scene which perhaps played out something along these lines:-
In a cavernous Met Office conference room, Frank from Marketing slouches at an imposing table made from the souls of people oppressed by capitalism. Each blemish on its pitted surface the result of a Third World carpenters tears. Also visible upon the stained timber surface lay a carving proffering ‘Frank is a dickhead’, which’d been mischievously engraved three days earlier by Terry from the Admin department.
Equatorial-like heat in the London office room, exacerbated by the air conditioning being set at gas mark 6, ensured Frank perspired uncomfortably in his cheap suit, which had seen better days…… That being said, as the outfit probably commenced fraying as soon as he’d walked out of his tailor’s shop, it’s fair to say it’d not seen many better days.
The early fraying a result of the suit receipt rubbing against his lapels in the bag……. Frank going on to conclude that perhaps his tailors decision to print receipts on heavy duty sandpaper was deeply flawed.
Meanwhile, in a much smaller Met Eireann conference room, Siobhan (a commercial assistant) sits chewing a pen. As she chomps upon the biro her mind races, Notions of how she can outsmart her English colleague in the upcoming conference call. Consequently raising her profile with Met Eireann‘s hierarchy.
Although both delighted about the revelation of a new arrival (ie a forthcoming storm), in previous discussions they’d been unable to reach agreement on an eponym for the upcoming meteorological appearance.
After dialling Siobhan’s conference number, in London, Frank bent his neck slightly to edge closer to the conference phone mic, which he’d moved to cover the ‘Frank is a dickhead‘ table graffiti.
Feigning strong influencing skills during his initial ‘greeting’, Frank attempts to lay down the law by confrontationally advising the thirty something Irish woman he’d already made a decision. Advising his Celtic colleague “I’ve decided, we’re calling the storm Louise after my dad!”
“No way!” Siobhan stubbornly responded firmly in her melodic Irish lilt. “No storm of mine will have an English name. Anyway it should start with an ‘N’, and I want to call it Niamh”.
“You’ve got to be kidding!……. It’s spelt Niamh but pronounced Neeve…… I want our storm to at least have a moniker that is spelt the same as it’s pronounced!” a forceful Frank countered prior to, in a more conciliatory tone, inquiring “Ok then, what do you think of Norman, after my uncle Bernard?”
“I don’t mind the name Norman per se; however, it would probably remind me of the bumbling actor Norman Wisdom, which isn’t a vision I really want associating with our storm” Siobhan countered, wavering for a moment.
“Well the storm would cause mayhem in its path, in the same fashion of the endearing late klutz Mr Wisdom; so it would be pretty apt, wouldn’t it?!” argued the Englishman.
“Sorry, I refuse to call the gale Norman.” Siobhan stood firm.
After a couple of hours deadlocked, with no compromise in sight for the intransigent duo, the flame haired Irish girl sought to thaw the chilled relationship between her and her colleague.
“Look, I think we need to compromise here, Frank, or we will be here all day!” the emerald eyed Dublin lass suggested in a move to lure her colleague into a false sense of security.
“Yeah, I’m open to any conciliatory suggestion” the big nosed, socially inept Londoner agreed.
“Right then, Niamh it is!” Siobhan exclaimed and hastily pressed the ‘call close’ button on the conference phone, closing the meeting.
She then rose from her chair, heading toward the door of the conference room with a self-satisfied smile emblazoned across her pale face, opining to no one in particular “Fecking English eejit!”
Over in London, realising he’d been duped, Frank shrugged his shoulders causing one of the sleeves on his poorly made jacket to fall to the floor. As he picked up the errant piece of cloth he consoled himself, muttering “Ah, never mind, it’s only a name”.
After departing the vast conference room, gaslighting his boss that he’d decided on the name Niamh; advising his gaffer “I told that Mick bird it’s Niamh or nothing, and she can like it or lump it!’
Personally, that’s how I want my storms naming. So as you’re apparently very keen for the public’s input, please take heed Met Office.
Better still why not try making some wonga by affording destructive gales sponsored names? For instance, in the future West Yorkshire becoming victim to Storm Apple, Storm B&M, Storm Card Factory or perhaps Storm Doncaster District Council.
The money received from the sponsor being utilised towards repairing damage resultant from the storm bearing their name……. With that hare-brained suggestion, now you know why I’ve never been able to secure a job wiithin the marketing field. Well, that and the fact I’ve never applied for one!