Richard Ord: It will soon be time for the Pest from the West

Beast from the East turned out nice again.
Beast from the East turned out nice again.

I trust you’re all cowering in fear of the Beast from the East. Question is: if this flurry of snow dusting the rooftops had come from the opposite direction would we now be quaking at the threat of the not-so-daunting Pest from the West?

If it had come from the North, we’d have been pretty much scuppered for dramatic names. It’s a similar story for the South.

There aren’t too many dynamic words rhyming with north or south. The Bad Mouth from the South is about as hard-hitting as you can get. But only serves to leave you scratching your head.

“Bad Mouth from the South??! What’s it doing like. Blowing a swear word? Are we getting a blast of halitosis from across the Atlantic?”

If we get more bad weather from the East in the future, I fear we may have run out of dramatic rhyming words.

As it is our job in the media to give all events instantly memorable and striking titles, we kind of struggle with the weather.

Thunder Thursday was the last good one. Had it fallen on a Wednesday, we may have been stuck with Particularly Wet and Windy Wednesday, which just wouldn’t fly.

Snow Bomb was a nice try. But, by then, the contrived weather names were wearing a bit thin with the public. What next? A Hail Grenade! A Drizzle Torpedo? Napalm Fog!

When it snows, we need something dramatic that goes beyond what actually happens. Snow, by its nature, is a lovely thing.

Soft flakes of pretty ice crystals leaving a soundless pure white comfort blanket across the landscape, just doesn’t work as a dramatic headline. We call that picturesque image for tabloid front page headline purposes ‘White Hell.”

White, because of the colour. Hell, because a train was delayed and an old lady slipped outside Aldi.

The naming of storms doesn’t help either. Hurricane is an brilliantly evocative word. But for dramatic purposes it’s tempered by the addition of an ordinary person’s name by the World Meteorological Organization. The names are set in stone and alternate between men and women’s names every time.

Hence, this year we will be confronted by a Hurricane Beryl at some point.

They could only make it less forboding by adding a surname. Batten down the hatches for Hurricane Beryl Reid.

I mention this because I have recently been downgraded myself.

My wife, so unimpressed by my DIY skills in putting up shelves christened me Reasonably Useful Richard. It stuck.

This week, however, I managed to fix a broken boiler in a matter of minutes without recourse to getting a professional in.

“Well done,” she said. “We should call you Marginally Useful Richard from now on.”

Thanks. But that’s worse than reasonable.

Storm in a teacup, I suppose. It’ll soon blow over...