I’M sorry; I welcomed Doris by bringing in my pot plants, battening down the henhouse and liberally gritting the front path against snow but I’m damned if I’m doing the same for Euan!
‘Doris’? She was the visitor from across the Alantic who, we were warmed, would arrive in a 90mph flurry of gales, torrential rain and snow like some unwanted AirBNB guest who won’t leave as long as the crockery is still intact.
Doris blew in last week as quietly (to steal a line from Raymond Chandler) “as any hurricane knew how”, did a whistlestop tour of the country (in fact, like most transatlantic visitors, doing most of her damage down south) before catching a connecting jet stream to Moscow and all points east.
Giving the threatened Armageddon a person’s name is supposed to make the impending arrival somehow seem more ‘real’; it is the second year of the Met Office scheme to make us more aware of the danger and, according to the weather watchers, has already proved successful.
But who the hell came up with name ‘Doris’? I have known a few Dorises in my time: one, a kindly but quiet family friend, we buried last year, a second was the Anglo-Chinese lady who ran the first Chinese restaurant in Warrington which became the staff canteen offering three-and-sixpenny lunches to a generation of Warrington Guardian junior reporters. Then there was the girl behind the cake shop counter, but that’s another story. . .
By and large, Dorises were nice, stolid, friendly lasses who wouldn’t hurt a fly, so what unimaginative soul came up with the plan to warn Britain of impending doom by naming the incoming storm ‘Doris’? Apart from the fact that it allowed some wag to hominate Thursday the 23rd as ‘Doris Day’ — marginally preferable, I suppose, to Feb 23 being cited henceforth as ‘Dick Day’ in honour of Cressida, the Met Police’s first female Commissioner — it is, with apologies to all of you Dorises, hardly the sexiest monicker in the weather world.
Anyway, as fearsome weather goes Doris wasn’t exactly the scariest storm we ever saw, despite all the pre-publicity. The further south one lived, the worse the weather appeared to blow — or, at least, the worse the wide-eyed TV weathermen and women painted it.
According to the Met Office (based among the southern softies in the Home Counties, remember) sometime during the day dear old Doris, who had started life as a bit of a storm, turned into a vicious sounding ‘weather bomb’ (yes, an official classification!) and, while the North waited for the Armageddon to ‘appen, the South of England went into full wartime blitz mode.
Trains were cancelled, schools prepared to close, flights diverted to calmer airports, flood warnings abounded; meanwhile, the hairiest thing that happened in the north was that an afternoon’s live recording of Coronation Street had to be abandoned when the big blow started to shake ITV’s ironically named Weatherfield set.
According to the Sun (London-based, don’t forget) “the soap was plunged into crisis by the storm that has wreaked havoc” (sic). TV folk might love a melodrama, but they also know how to make the most of an unexpected day off.
“#StormDoris putting a stop to [filming on] cobbles @itvcorrie this morning” tweeted Samia Longchambon, who plays Maria Connor in the show. “Back home for snugs, sofa ‘n’ a film with my monkeys.” Actress Dolly-Rose Campbell advised: “Batten down the hatches and drink plenty of tea!”
Amazing, isn’t it, how the programme publicists and the ‘angle’-seeking Sun reporters bring everything, even weather stories, back to Corrie? I remember a previous story, some years ago: The Sun Stops Corrie Fiming!
No, not an injunction from the newspaper but a summer heatwave that saw Corrie actors banned from the cobbled streets of the Weatherfield set in case they tanned too much while filming outdoor scenes due to be screened the following winter.
This morning I awoke to the news that, having packed off the unwelcome Doris to the Land of Dostoevsky, our latest dose of the dismal had already made landfall in Ireland, bearing the name Storm Euan.
Well thank you, but no! ‘Euan’ has all the chilling, bowel-emptying fear potential of a softly-spoken Edinburgh pharmacist with a lisp.
Euan will NOT do!