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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Emma and the Beast

Obviously I blame the Met Office and their Irish equivalents.

They were clearly jealous of America's hurricanes. Each with its own name. So they did it to the Irish and British equivalents. Which are generally heavy downpours. But if they're called Osric or Ortrude or something somehow they're more relatable apparently.

But then they were faced with the prospect of a bit of non-Atlantic-storm-related weather. Realising they couldn't give it a name in the official sequence, instead they personified it as "The Beast from the East."

Which is all very well. But names are powerful things. Give a weather phenomenon a name and it acquires a kind of moral force - a suggestion of purpose. Now we have weather with a personality.
And then we get Emma.

Storm Emma wasn't named by the weather people on the eastern side of the Atlantic. She was named in the Americas. And has made it across the Pond with all her faculties intact.

So what do the Beaker Folk do when the Beast comes from the East and Emma drives across from the West? They mythologise and anthropomorphise.

Now the Moon Gibbon Folk are rooting for the Beast - who they think may be able to give the Great Gibbon itself a good hiding should they meet up. While the Fertility Folk are supporting Emma - a good, wholesome English name, they say. The rival cults are even now praying to their respective deities to grant good weather.

Those Beaker Folk who are better at geography are concerned that Emma and the Beast are going to meet up at some point. And wonder what will happen. Some hypothesise that plucky Emma is going to slay the Beast, somewhere over Stonehenge, Spring will come, and the song of the turtle will again be heard in the land. Others point out the coincidence  with the casting of "Beauty and the Beast" and wonder whether they'll settle down and raise a family of young zephyrs.

And some, reflecting on the violence of Storm Emma and the chilly indifference of The Beast, are predicting terrible warfare in the heavens.

Giant idols of Emma and the Beast have appeared in the Orchard. Personally I reckon they've got her nose wrong. But that doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that they should never name another weather system. Numbers will be far more suitable. Just start at 1 and work up. A number won't hate you, take delight in blowing your house down, or laugh as the blizzard howls round your house. You can count on numbers.

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