Wind Speed

The BBC said the wind was gusting to 70mph yesterday. It felt much faster. We sleep just under the roof, so it’s like being in a tent: at any moment the ceiling might be ripped off above your head, leaving you staring at the stars. The way the wind finds ways in through the cracks, it doesn’t seem to make much difference whether there’s a roof on or not.

I took Gizmo to the park. Wind raged from the West, channeled across the Pennines and along Rivelin staight towards us. I had an (only slightly) irrational fear that a tree would land on top of us, but we made it, although the young trees in the copse at the bottom of Bole Hill cracked their knuckles threateningly as we passed through. Above us the clouds hurried across the sky, their tops thrust out ahead of their mass like old men scuttling home, collars-up, soon be there.

In the playground, the witch’s hat played itself. It swung from one side to the other as if ridden by two invisible witch children. The galvanised steel fence was a rigid aeolian instrument playing dry notes through its icy bars. This summer’s plant riot had dried out and uprooted themselves into the wind, but the fence caught their stalks on their way uphill, hanging onto their middles. They stretched and strained, dying to fly onwards across the playing field, but the fence wouldn’t let go of them.

Down the street into the car, I passed three shrink-wrapped heads of broccoli and a half-empty jar of white Nutella lying on the pavement. Had somebody dropped them there, losing ballast in a dash to get home? Or had they been blown out of some unsecured kitchen?

Inside the car was velvety silence. Concentrating hard, I could just hear the screech of the wind which, seconds before, had dragged me by the ears. At the end of the road, a stray sheet of newspaper circled the street, like a dog chasing its tail or a jobbing piece of litter auditioning for American Beauty 2.