12.1.05

Blowing in the wind


Wow! What a day that was. It started very, very early, and very, very badly. We were all up by 5.30am, and on the road one hour later. We didn't get very far, as the police had closed the Friarton Bridge over the Tay at Perth. It had been a windy night last night, but I hadn't realised just how windy. Hurricane force winds had wreaked havoc across the country, with the Western Isles bearing the brunt of the storm. While the force of the gales had dissipated somewhat by the time they reached the east coast, we were still facing gusts of over 100 miles per hour - more than enough to overturn high sided vehicles, bring down trees and street signs and spread dangerous debris across roads. Once at Perth we decided that it would be foolhardy to continue, so we turned back. Once back in the house I rebooked the flights for tomorrow and told the hotel that we would be a day late. The airline company charged me £130 over the internet for changing my booking, and the hotel booking agent told me that the hotel had refused a refund for the night we wouldn't be there. Bearing in mind the circumstances, I was livid at having to pay more for less, so I phoned the airline. It was a mistake, they said: since the flight had been cancelled, I shouldn't have been charged. They apologised profusely and promised to refund the money immediately: so well done EasyJet. Next the hotel. I phoned the hotel directly, and they assured me that they would not charge for tonight, and that they were surprised to hear that the booking agent had said otherwise. I phoned the booking agent again, and hopefully that will be sorted out too. By the time all of this was sorted out it was mid morning, the sun was shining and you would never believe that we had just experienced the worst storms in over a decade: a storm that had brought the country's public transport systems to a complete standstill for most of the day, and which has cost at least five people their lives. I wanted to make the most of the nice weather, so I wandered up round Baldovan to Pitempton to have a look at the Dronley Burn, which is running swiftly and contentedly within its own banks. So.. no floods and no fallen trees: just the occasional piece of debris on the road and the odd overturned wheelie bin! Surreal. Managed to speak to Silvia and told her that I would be over in Lisbon next Saturday, and that we need to get the Burns' Supper organised. This time it is at her flat... I'll be sure to share the event with you. As for now: well, tomorrow we head out for Edinburgh once more. This time we should be okay.

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