Monday, January 7, 2013

The Storm Junkie

Facebook Update 11.03pm 27/12/12 Tony Horner

" I'm a bad weather chaser, when I see those new reports of rivers swelling and the bricks on old bridges crumble and disappear into the green brown rushing waters I'm off straight away. Cornwall, West Wales, West of Scotland. Anywhere the snow or the rain or the winds are doing enough to disrupt the daily lives of thousands who hate bad weather. That's where I want to be.

There's something truly exhilarating about rivers that burst their banks, turning fields into lakes and high streets of small towns and villages into dangerous runs of water, catching and dragging cars along in their wake.

Snowdrifts. My aim is to be ether caught in a snowdrift or even worse washed away into a dangerous river in my car. For the snowdrift I've everything I might need to stay OK under there. The boot has a sleeping bag, shovel, blankets, spare coats, water, food. I can punch a way through into the boot behind the armrest in the back seat. Or if I want save myself some money and drama I can just lift the back shelf off.

I once nearly put a big flashy 4 wheel drive people carrier off a road in Northumberland in the snow. My wife was there and she was pregnant so she wasn't too happy. we were miles from anywhere , too far to turn back, not near enough to our destination to walk. We edged along slowly, for the first time I realized the weight of a vehicle. I was unfamiliar with it. If I'd been on my own I'd have happily been more wreckless but her presence and condition and her state of mind was freaking me out.

Now that's all gone and I'm heading down to the Hills near Hereford again. There's a huge bank of snow predicted and that's after months of rain. Just to stand out there, feel the wet and the wind lashing round me, eating the toggles of my jacket, to keep the hood tight around my face. A different gust can cut straight through, two layers of thermals and over trousers and it can still slay you.

Waiting for a tree to fall, or the groan and sway of a centuries old bridge. Something so helpless about a town divided by the raging bull run of bad weather. Sandbags, hammered and battered doors buckled, mud everywhere. Nature's unstoppable force. The snow's already started and the wheels were slipping beneath me earlier. All the other traffic is going against me. I open the window and feel the air and the sleet. Ahead the black mountains and what?

They've gone now. Cloud, the snow, the cars no longer on tarmac. The lights are hazed. Ten feet too high to see their outline and now they're gone. Out of a village and back into the country. White. Roaring hell....."

From Sarah Horner

To all Tony's friends. This was my dad's last Facebook note I thought you might like to see it. It was in his drafts. they found his car in the Wye yesterday. The police are treating his death as accidental.

James Brown

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