Beware the Beast from Five Fingers
THE Beast from the
East. Is that any relation to the Beast with Five
While we're at it, why don't we just call the latest
storm the Beast from Five Fingers Strand.
Is it just me, or has this trend of naming storms
made the weather worse?
When we were wains, we would wake up on a school day
in, let's be radical and say February, and there was
snow on the ground.
Stop the lights! Now, maybe it was the case that the
parents of Inishowen were having conniptions that we
were blissfully unaware of, at the prospect of the
winter white stuff.
But it seemed that snow storms came and went like,
well, the seasons in the 1980s.
But now the country is having complete conniptions.
I've visions of Evelyn Cusack, Joanna Donnelly and
colleagues flurrying around the Met Eireann offices
in Glasnevin like whirling dervishes, checking their
polar vortexes and their sudden stratospheric
We have the National Emergency Co-ordination Group
doing serious things like, convening. Not to mention
the damage all this talk of the 'Beast from the
East' is doing to our Hiberno-Siberian relations.
Let's not be too flippant though. I don't want to do
a Michael Fish and downplay the whole thing only to
be left with egg (or should I say mashed avocado?)
on my face when news of disaster hits our screens.
But it's 2018 - we're sending electric cars into
space. Wee pillars of artificial intelligence called
Alexa and Siri have replaced the radio on our
kitchen tables. And yet, a well-forecasted front of
Arctic snow is sending us en masse to the bunkers.
Forty loaves of bread anyone?
Snowfall in Inishowen in January 2011
What happened to the
excitement of having enough snow to build a decent
snowman (sorry snowperson) or to challenge the enemy
in the neighbouring park to a snowball fight? And
what about getting a bit of a sled ramshackled
together for a run down the Hill Head? We would, of
course, have to organise a few buckets of water to
make sure it's good and slippy. And the people who
had cars would probably know that the wains are
playing on the Hill Head and would take another
route into the town for a few days.
But we wouldn't want to get in bother with the Elf
and Safety. And come to think about it, would you
need motor tax or the NCT for a sleigh these days?
We better just observe the National Emergency and
hunker down. We can check the dangers from the
safety of our smartphones. Social media will tell us
exactly where the polar vortex is at any given
second and whether or not we should keep the wains
off school; it will let us see that Leinster might
get it far worse than west Ulster... for once, ahem.
It will also allow our local authorities to issue
warnings in real-time. Better to have a real-time
warning than a real-time disaster, right?
Meanwhile, I'm thinking a good theme for panto
season up about Malin Head next year could be the
aforementioned 'Beast from Five Fingers Strand'. We
could get a Peter Lorre lookalike for the main
beasty role - 'he's behind you!". We could have a
Good Witch of the West and a wicked, nasty, Bad
Witch of the East battling it out up on top of
Sliabh Sneacht. We could even write a part for the
meteorologists from Malin Head. And to the question,
will we get a day off for a sleighride together and
no school...oh, yes we will!