“Batten down the hatches!”
“Storm Ophelia is on her way, brace yourselves!”
Just two of the newspaper headlines that caught my eye in the fleeting seconds I dared cast my gaze away from the overpriced “My Little Pony” magazine my daughter was coercing me into buying.
Up until now, I’d heard vague murmurings of Northern Ireland getting the tail end of a hurricane.
Nothing new there then. We’re used to getting the leftovers of quite a lot of things here; UK government spending, pre-Christmas supplies of last year’s must have “Hatchimals” toy……and hurricanes.
Initially, I’d shrugged it off and had no intention of adapting my plans. Life would carry on as normal; I mean, I have 3 children, amber wind warnings are in place most days.
But the combination of those rather dramatic headlines and an (albeit ridiculously late in the day) announcement from the Northern Ireland Executive advising all schools to close, left me wondering if perhaps I’d been a little blasé about the small matter of a hurricane.
And so, I did what all self-respecting Northern Ireland mums do and went into full scale survival mode.
I located and dusted off the emergency Yankee Candle that I’d bought on special offer (I should have known) years ago. There is nothing quite like the pungent scent of figs and Jojoba what’s-its-face floating through a pitch-black house as you curse at your other half for forgetting to put batteries in the torch.
I also did a Baked Beans stock take. 34 tins on the 3rd count.
Running dangerously low but we’d be good for a day or two before having to resort to eating the posh healthy food.
Finally, broadcasters were advising people to secure anything that might flap about in the wind (they used unnecessarily technical language) so I did a quick check to make sure I’d put my bra on.
And with that, I was ready for Storm Ophelia.
Little could be said for the other members of my household, who evidently did not appreciate the severity of the situation and were carrying on much as normal.
Our opportunistic eldest daughter repeatedly asked if she could go outside to fly her kite. Our son repeatedly asked for the iPad. And our littlest daughter repeatedly threw food off the tray of her highchair. Husband was watching Tipping Point and looking smug that he’d been given the day off school (he’s a teacher as opposed to a pupil in case anyone’s eyebrows are in danger of lifting off their forehead around about now).
My (nothing short of heroic) efforts in readying us for the storm had gone completely unnoticed and unappreciated.
Clearly, they’d all learned nothing from last year when the Great Blizzards of 2016 were predicted; my husband and children were very nonchalant but in the end it was me they all came running to in a panic when 4 snowflakes fell and there was a slightly icy patch on our driveway.
And so, after hearing this afternoon that all schools will remain closed for a second day, I’m continuing to channel my inner Bear Grylls and won’t be venturing out in the event I get struck by a falling leaf.
Although someone did tell me Tesco had an offer on that really nice Sauv……wait, no….essentials only…..(Tesco in the morning it is then.)
Dedicated to all the Northern Ireland mums who are surviving the shit out of this hurricane.