No respite from the wayward wind…

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February 8, 2016 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette February 4th 2016

BORN in Windy Ridge, Rustington, I always thought The Man from Windy Ridge would make a fine title for a western novel, a somewhat shattered concept when the council changed the name to Wendy Ridge and it kinda lost its rugged appeal. That is by the way though. Truth is, the wind has always bothered me, always been my ‘bete noire’. The prevailing south westerly especially, it keeps me indoors, gives me a headache and earache. It blows wood smoke back down my chimney frustrating my efforts to have a fire. Rattles my windows and shakes the slate tiles loose on my roof. Worse still, I have to nail my hat on or, heaven forbid, leave it off altogether, I lost a lovely Stetson one windy night a couple of years ago, whoosh off, up and away into the dark night never to be seen again. It makes me grumpier than I already tend to be. Its whining certainly lacks the romance of gentle raindrops against the window pane and I cannot think of one good thing to say about it. It is my misery and superb American writer Joan Didion nailed it when she wrote,  “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” Certainly I, like many others, have now had enough and I firmly believe the government should step in and do something about ridding us of it. Perhaps appointing a Minister of Wind – it should not be too difficult to find a suitable candidate for that job in Westminster – who would then seek a considerable reduction in our share of the stuff when the government try to renegotiate our place in the European Union. Come on, David, as you are so fond of telling us, ‘it’s the right thing to do!’

MANY years ago I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Terry Wogan at a BBC press lunch, he was a warm, friendly and quite unassuming person, delightful in fact. I mentioned that my mother was a great fan and he kindly signed his place setting card for her ‘To Charity May with best wishes…’ I gave it to her on my next visit home and she was thrilled although it was always my impression that she was a little doubtful as to its authenticity…

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