Well, we may not be directly in the path of Hurricane Ophelia up here in the Pennines but it’s been an interesting day nevertheless. This morning the Calder valley was coated in a colourful semi-opaque red haze that made the place look like something out of the ‘Martian Chronicles’! It really was the most surreal feeling to see the atmosphere charged in such a way. A few hours later it’d cleared and we were back to a glorious summers day, with sunshine, scudding clouds and balmy temperatures hitting 19 degrees C. There was only one problem. The seasonal average for this time of year is 12 degrees C! Soon afterwards, the winds arrived. I’d nipped over to Huddersfield to visit the hotel where Dawn and I are getting married when we got hit by one enormous gust of wind that really rattled the place. Trees outside writhed like they were caught in a maelstrom. The drive back home was entertaining as leaves & twigs scudded across the roads like battalions of scalded cats.

We decided to stop off for a quick one in our local pub before heading home. When we arrived the pub sign hanging outside was doing its best to break off its hinges. Every few minutes you could hear the roar of the wind outside over the conversations & laughter inside. A few minutes after we left the lights went out. A power cut took out streetlights, traffic lights and every house within a mile of where we were. We drove to our local Sainsbury’s about a mile away to pick up some shopping but everything was in blackout. Eventually, the power came back on but the staff couldn’t serve anyone as all the tills were still down. It took them ages to reboot, leaving staff having to add up shopping lists on scraps paper. Believe it or not, Sainsbury’s are still using Windows XP on their tills – despite Microsoft stopping supporting it way back in April 2014! Rebooting XP after a sudden shutdown takes a lifetime.

If this was our experience on the edge of the hurricane, I hate to think what’s happening to people closer in…