storm arwen: watching a weather situation like that develop is always fascinating

Ralston Writes

This autumn however has been unseasonably mild, with the temperature occasionally hitting heights we’d be delighted within the summer months.

But the seasons have shifted and it’s got much colder as the end of autumn approached. Then, of course, Storm Arwen made its appearance, bringing chaos to Scotland, and as this bad boy cleared to the south, we saw a true arctic blast with snow and ice and all the hazards that brought.

I was on shift that night, watching a weather situation like that develop is always fascinating – the Met office pushed out a serious Red Warning for disruptive and dangerous winds.

This doesn’t happen very often but the gusts of 80 to 90mph in the east certainly warranted it.

My children still say ‘how do you know’ when I tell them which coat, fleece or jacket they will need for their walk to school or to go out to play and, of course, mama is always right. they seem to forget I was on the telly the night before at 10.30pmtelling the good folks of Scotland!

With the winter comes the long dark nights. It’s also the start of advent, a time of hope, of preparation and happiness for us Catholics as we head towards celebrating and recognising the birth of Jesus.

I’ve been thinking back to the advents of my childhood, the coveted advent calendar my granny used to give me — I had all the wee chocolates eaten within a few days.

In fact, the run up to Christmas evokes all sorts of happy memories, even though we didn’t have much. One thing I loved was making the Blue Peter advent crown — some of you must remember.

Made from four coat hangers, wire as far as I remember, four jam jar lids, four candles and a lot of tinsel.

I’ve just checked the first Blue Peter ‘advent crown’ was made 57 years ago — 57 years ago! Surely not possible — the 1970s was surely only 30 years ago!

So naturally, this captured my imagination and the advent crown was constructed. In my opinion it was pretty good.

The only thing was the candles were white and not red, and that irked me being the ten year old perfectionist that I was.

I wasn’t allowed to light the candles, but of course that didn’t stop me from having a go. One day after school, I found the matches, Scottish Bluebell I’m sure, and I set about lighting the candles.

I managed to light one, but as I was trying to light another I singed my hair on the already lit candle.

My mum came running into my screams, she cottoned onto what had happened and quickly popped my singed hair under the kitchen tap.

I don’t remember getting into trouble for this but I do remember the reproving looks and words from my mum. and I didn’t do it again.

It’s funny that now I’m exactly the same with my kids, they don’t need a row as often as a look or a few words. Something to ponder as we head towards the Christmas madness!

  • BBC weather presenter Judith Ralston has writes exclusively in a new publication, The Scottish Catholic, about faith, family and all things in between.

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