Cleaning Up After Mother Nature…With A Chainsaw

26 10 2014


Unless you are a lumberjack, waking up to the sound of a chainsaw can be a vaguely unsettling experience. Even more so if you are located on an island that is known primarily for its pink sandy beaches, reinsurance market and rum-based libations of varying strengths.

But for many Bermudians, the depressing sound of nature being chopped into small pieces has become very familiar in the last few days. As most people on this side of the pond are more than aware, this 21-square-mile patch of land was hit by two major weather events in the space of a week – “Tropical Storm” Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo – and while Fay reportedly caught the country with its shorts down, residents were more prepared for the extreme winds that picked up where the storm had left off.

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Brief Encounter Versus The Terminator

24 01 2012

On Saturday morning, I put my sturdy boots on and tramped my way through what I believed would be the inevitable scenery in my little part of Massachusetts for the foreseeable future.

Weeks of walking through snow, having to don footwear that was practical as opposed to comfortable. The threat of one of the local youths thinking it would be fun to throw a snowball at my head and the slowing down of my driving style to cope with snow-induced drift.

I had been forced to leave the warmth of my house for two reasons.

Firstly, I needed to talk to my local mechanic about the inability of the car to start in the freezing weather. I anticipated that his answer would be that it was probably the starter motor. Which would be helpful.

Secondly, the sound of small children throwing themselves down an incline outside my window had got really annoying. It doesn’t matter how many times they flew down the slope in an inflatable tyre, the constant squealing was enough to drive me out of the house and into the snow.

This was what greeted me in our “downtown” area. I wasn’t a happy bunny.

I don’t like snow. Period.

Yesterday (Monday), I picked my wife up from Boston airport and we drove back to our New England town. As we passed banks of shovelled slush, she asked me if Cohasset – where we live – was slightly more “snowy”. I replied in the grim affirmative. She likes snow, as does our dog who had been cavorting in the three inches of white powder that covered our garden (more a patch of untended grass, but you get the picture).

Which is why today – Tuesday – the joy that I felt when I went down to make the first cup of coffee of the day, glanced out of the window and saw that all the snow had melted was only dampened by the realization that, like The Terminator, it would be back.

The sun may be shining, I can see the grass on the incline next door but I am not naive enough to believe that we have seen the last of  Winter. Climate change may be playing a factor, but there will be more days when snow will cover the streets and children will get the time off from school.

In the same way that I know that we haven’t seen the last of Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, I know that the snow will return.

As will the children and their inflatable rubber ring. But this time I will be ready. On both counts.

Until then, I will enjoy my coffee in the sun.

Even the Walrus knows that Climate Change is real.

23 07 2010

A Day At The Beach

Inspiration for environmental concerns can come from the most unlikely of sources.

For example,  “The time has come,” the Walrus said “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
And cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

Ever since I watched the latest adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, my mind has been thinking of The Walrus and the Carpenter. Neither of them appears in Tim Burton’s gothic Alice, but when the above words were transcribed in 1872, the developed world was in the iron grip of the Industrial Revolution.

Factories belched smoke into the air, heavy machinery toiled night and day to produce consumer goods, industrial waste spilled into the rivers and oceans and urbanization sprawled across the land.

Sound familiar? With the exception of the date – and the fact that heavy machinery has been “streamlined” to ensure that it produces more useless rubbish that we don’t need – this could be the environment that we live in now.

And, yes, the time has come to talk of many things. That is the problem. Read the rest of this entry »