The fog . . .

fog 1THE fog that has smothered important parts of Britain and brought TV journalists to a standstill is arriving in Spain. I lurk on the roof of our rural casa and watch it flooding Andalucia, welling up from the Mediterranean like something malevolent in an old Shepperton Studios film. Agnes the cat lurks with me, coiling round my legs. She remembers The Day the Earth Caught Fire, with Janet Munro and Leo McKern, and she’s expecting the worst . . .

Last night Agnes and I watched the BBC and ITV news and were horrified by the spectacle of London shivering in a cold sweat beneath a damp eiderdown of dirty white. A fog in London, we whispered in incredulous wonder. How unusual. Just think what Dickens could have made of that.

We watched a TV journalist reporting from inside a fog-bound aeroplane at Manchester Airport. His flight to London had been delayed by one-and-a-half hours. We were gripped by the revelation that internal flights had been affected by adverse weather conditions. But if he and his film crew had not been affected, would this incident have made the national news? When a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if it’s foggy?

“Viewers of a more cynical nature,” I explained to Agnes in an attempt to relieve her anxiety, “might be saying to themselves: ‘Why didn’t the stupid fellow catch a train and get to London in half the time and at a fraction of the price instead of running up expenses which we, the viewers, ultimately pay for in either licence fees or advertising costs? Do these insulated people think that the man on the Oldham omnibus gives a monkey’s todger about executive types being inconvenienced by meteorological phenomena that have been commonplace since the end of the last Ice Age and almost certainly before?'”

fog 3fog 4And now we’re sitting on the roof, awaiting engulfment, watching grey waves slap unheard around the feet of hills and over cold meadows.

“Did you know Bernard Braden was in that film?” I say to Agnes. “You know, The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Bernard Braden from Braden’s Week? Remember Braden’s Week?”

Agnes casts me an anxious glance then turns her whiskers back to the fog.

“He played the role of the news editor on the Daily Express. And get this. Arthur Christiansen played the editor – the job he did in real life. He played himself. What about that?”

Agnes casts me another, almost hostile, glance and says in a rare moment of lucidity: “I don’t read the Daily Express.”

“Fair enough,” I reply, as the fog engulfs us.

fog 5

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17 thoughts on “The fog . . .

  1. I have two comments, Alen. 1. Which are the “important” parts of Britain? Yorkshire, obviously, but where else? And 2. Do I detect a teeny tiny bit of seething resentment in your reference to TV journalists, perhaps?

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    1. Next time a fog rolls in from the North Sea and affects only Yorkshire, I will ponder over whether or not it lies in an important part of Britain by the coverage it receives on the national news.
      The flight delay coverage was totally unrepresentative of the day’s events and took up a disproportionate part of the news programme. Would it have received the same coverage if a journalist and film crew had not been inconvenienced? No. It was indulgent, to say the least. So seething, yes; resentful, no.
      And I hope it’s sunny in Dunbar.
      Alen

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  2. It looks nice on the roof of your casa, Alen. I prefer the idea of the fog than to expose myself to 45 C from a relentless sun (I’ve tried it in Egypt)
    It is easier to reflect under cooler conditions.
    Well, I think Agnes can read the paper, but she may have other preferences than Daily Express. She looks clever ❤
    My brother had a cat who could read the washing instructions on clothing. He found the cat inside the washing machine, as he was placing the soap ball…busy sorting out the clothes I assume 🙂
    I hope all journalists from today on will be CO2-conscious, and also think about the economy.
    Vaya con Dios, Thor, Alá y Odin,
    Hanna

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    1. Hi Hanna. Agnes is a very intelligent cat. I’ve tried to train her to use my Kindle but she has trouble turning the pages.
      Egypt sounds too hot at 45C. We experienced a few days in July at 40C and that was unbearable.
      Cheers, Alen

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      1. Hi Alen. In a moment I thought my good story was wasted 🙂 Haha.
        Yes I’m sure it checked my brothers ability to wash.
        I also think the cat checked if it’s silk sleeping bag would be able to tolerate the detergent. The cat was also extremely fond of watching ball games in the televison beside outdoor sports but I think that’s normal.

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    1. Blimey Carol. It sounds like one of those fogs where you hear footsteps behind you, then when you stop and look around in the glare of a gas light there’s no one there.
      I’m shivering just thinking about it.
      Alen

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  3. Absolutely been loving the fog. I have spent day after day wandering the moors and hills in the dark to catch the sunrises above it. As you know well, the perfect conditions for a lot of outdoor folk, not that the BBC would be interested in its positive side. Got lots of pics to put up on the blog at some stage. Unless of course you are a Facebook type person and you can see them there first.

    That’s a nice view you have from your casa, no wonder the lovely Agnes enjoys it as well. I suspect your proximity to the Mediterranean will make your mountains a good place for temperature inversions, so you could get more of those wonderful conditions.

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    1. Hiya David. Yes, brilliant temperature inversions. I’ll look at your Facebook page.
      During my first winter in the North-East (January 1996) we had freezing fog for nearly a month. I used to travel home to Cumbria at weekends, and the sun was still shining there. But driving back every Sunday afternoon, it was sunny and bright on Stainmore – but you could see this solid mass of white stretching from Bowes right across to the eastern horizon. Got some pictures somewhere. And pictures of trees in Darlington covered in icy fog crystals.
      Yes, great view – but only for another month, and then we move into our new house. We should still have a good view but different.
      Cheers, Alen

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  4. Aaaaw, Agnes, gorgeous little girl!! She is a wise lady. Haha, great post, Alen – and spot on about the media. The moment we get any ‘extreme’ weather – defined pretty generously, I’d say – off they all go to maroon themselves in the thick of it, just so that they can report back to the nation on how disruptive it is. It was MUCH better when we all just watched the evening forecast if we had a TV set, and then went to bed. Agnes will remember that time!

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    1. I knew you’d like the cat pictures, Jo. The other one just sleeps all the time and seldom ventures far. Not inquisitive at all.
      I once had a colleague called David Cragg who went to work for Border TV as a reporter and achieved YouTube fame when he was washed along the prom at Silloth by a huge wave. Very entertaining.
      Cheers, Alen

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  5. I’m trying to think of a type of weather that doesn’t cause social upheaval in Britain (or rather south east England). Heat evaporating all their drinking water; autumn leaves on the line; a cm of snow; a fresh breeze blowing down all the trees in Kent; fogg.

    It was great driving through it the other day and it always reminds me of that sketch from the Fast Show when the guy hiking across the moors comes across the old garage mechanic: ‘What if you get lost in the fog, and fall down ‘ole…”

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    1. During very hot weather the tar used to melt on the roads and stick to the soles of your shoes, but that doesn’t seem to happen any more. I think the Government is using fake tar. And have you noticed that the wind doesn’t moan like it used to because there aren’t as many telegraph wires? Where do birds perch these days?
      My Granddad used to like foggy days because it gave him an opportunity to set his chimney on fire to clear out the soot. It was cheaper than getting the sweep in and nobody could see the smoke because of the fog. They don’t put good points like that on the ten o’clock news.
      Must watch that Fast Show piece. Cheers, Alen

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