The next part of the round was virtually normal and it wasn’t until I came to a corner house in the adjoining road that I realised it was mostly rubble.
There was a guy in a dirty dressing gown sifting through the piles of bricks, trying to salvage his sofa and other items of furniture. I stood watching him for a few moments, unsure of what to do.
I had his copy of the Daily Mirror in my hand, and I waved it in the air and cleared my throat. He noticed me standing there.
‘Paper!’ I said brightly. He looked at me.
‘My dining table is under there somewhere,’ he said indicating a particular pile of rubble, ‘Chuck it on there.’
And so it went on, a fully loaded skip – complete with obligatory mattress – in the middle of the road, a curtain rail and curtains lodged in the windscreen of a car, fences moved in big sections (changing the boundaries of their houses into wild shapes), and lots of other things where they shouldn’t or wouldn’t normally be.
It took me three times longer to deliver my papers the day after The Great Storm of 1987 and I was late for school, but it was well worth it.
Damage and Destruction
It should be noted that over 20 people lost their lives to the effects of the hurricane that night, roads and railways were totally blocked from fallen trees and debris and hundreds of thousands of homes were left without power, bringing a fair amount of misery to a lot of people from all walks of life.
The hurricane of ’87 was England’s worst storm since 1703, so two hundred and eighty four years ago, but for me personally it was fantastic, and one of my best memories from my childhood.
The world was upended, shuffled and re-dealt that night, recreating it as a land of wonder, a surreal experience seemingly laid out just for me and I loved every minute of it.
I remember feeling glad and grateful that our house had escaped unscathed (I later found out that the rear quarter of our roof had, in fact, been ripped off. As I say, I am a really heavy sleeper).
All in all, The Great Storm of 1987 was a complete anomaly, no-one saw it coming (except perhaps, the lady who called in to the BBC which weather presenter Michael Fish reassured on the weather forecast the day before) and before we knew it, The Great Storm of 1987 was gone, leaving a large part of the country smashed to pieces in its wake.
What a time to be a kid, eh?
Do you remember The Great Storm of 1987? What are your memories of it?
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