As the shell-shocked inhabitants of the Isle of Wight woke this morning to see that the suspiciously foreign-named Storm Ciara had done thousands, possibly hundreds, of pounds of damage to their once-tranquil home, they were as one in vowing that they will be jolly well rolling up their sleeves and restoring it to its 1950s glory.
‘It’s a blessed nuisance,’ admitted sprightly 78-year-old retired shopkeeper Reginald Blythe, surveying the two broken pots in his back garden. ‘I only bought the one for the bay tree last month and it had a 20-year guarantee. But no good moaning, is it? I’ll buy another one when I get into Sandown again.’
Storm Ciara raged through the Isle of Wight for much of Sunday, with gusts reaching up to 35 mph on exposed parts of the coast. According to unconfirmed reports, a particularly savage wind blew out the candles during Holy Communion at St Peter’s Church in Ventnor, causing several elderly parishioners over three minutes of disorientation. Other damage included:
– Three seats buckling on the Alum Bay chair lift which will require replacement before visitors arrive in April, as elbow grease will not be enough to repair them
– The hat of Lilian Bagnall, 73, being blown off as she popped to the shops for some butter in Freshwater
– The cancellation of the 11.30 and 13.0 ferries from Southampton to Cowes, forcing eight islanders to wait for three hours in a not particularly salubrious teashop
Nothing, however, is going to deter the proud people of Wight from rebuilding. ‘If Johnny Weather thinks he can scare us with his sleet-like rainfall, he’s got another think coming, I’ll tell you that for nothing,’ thundered Arnold Broadway, 83, from Ryde.
‘We didn’t live through the Blitz just to bow the knee to a freak weather event – admittedly, but we would have done if we’d had to. It’s not our fault that the Luftwaffe didn’t see the Ghost Train at Blackgang Chine as a strategic target after all. We are a proud people, who voted not to join the Common Market, and now you’re going to see why.’