Saturday, 31 July 2021

Storms. Stuff I have read such as the power of lightning and hunting wolves!

Well, we seem to have dodged Storm Evert. It has apparently gone round us or something, moving eastwards. Yellow wind warnings are in place for coastal areas in south-east England and East Anglia, and thunderstorm warnings for a swathe of England from Nottingham to Norwich and north as far as Hull.  Two women were seriously injured by a falling tree near Heveningham in Suffolk on Friday evening.

“Police received a report at about 6.35pm this evening that an oak tree had fallen at Ubbeston and injured two females in the process,” Suffolk police said. “The two victims, aged in their 20s, sustained serious injuries in the incident. It is understood the pair were in attendance with others at a private outdoor party.” Quite what anyone was doing at an outdoor party, private or otherwise, in the sort of weather we have had this week escapes me. I expect it was planned when the weather was fine and sunny but, this being Britain, the fickle weather let them down. Maybe they were sheltering under the oak tree. 

Here on the edge of Greater Manchester today I have taken the risk of hanging washing out to dry. No doubt I will need to keep an eye on things. 

With the possibility of thunderstorms around, it is something of a coincidence that I came across this in the book I am currently reading:-

“Lightning has evaporated glass. It has struck a field of potatoes and cooked them underground, the harvester turning them up perfectLy baked. It has roasted geese in mid-flight, which have rained down, ready to eat. 

The sudden intense heat can expand fabric. People have found themselves naked, their clothes scattered around them, their boots torn from their feet. 

Lightning can so magnetise objects they are able to lift three times their own weight. It has stopped an electric clock then started it again, the clockhands moving backwards at twice their normal speed. 

It has struck a building then struck the fire alarm, bringing firemen to put out the blaze it started. 

Lightning has restored a man’s sight and also his hair.

Ball lightning enters through a window, a door, a chimney. Silently it circles the room, browses the bookshelf and, as if unable to decide where to sit, disappears through the same air passage by which it entered.”

I don’t think we have quite such powerful lightning where we live - at least I hope not - but the last point about the ball lightning makes my mother’s story about lightning running through the house the open front door, along the passageway and our of the open back door a little less farfetched than it has always seemed. All those years we accused her of exaggerating!

I was also reading about wolf-hunting in Wisconsin. The Trump administration took wolves off the list of protected species and since then large numbers of wolves have been hunted, often with hounds which means that more are killed at one go than in former times. Considering that dogs were bred from wolves originally that must be a strange thing - dogs hunting their genetic forebears!

We don’t have wolves here but I get the impression that wherever wolves roam free there is still a primeval fear of them. That doesn’t really excuse killing 200 in one day though! Not everyone wants them killed. On the side of the wolf is the Ojibwe tribe, one of the First Nations. “We believe the wolf is our brother, and what happens to the wolf happens to us,” said Mic Isham, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band and a long-time wildlife official for the tribe. They accept the hunting permits to which they are entitled, thus restricting the number given out to other people, but don’t use them: a small gesture. 

Dairy farmers in the state say that wolves attack their livestock but statistics show that livestock losses have been consistently low in recent years. In 2018, Wisconsin farmers and ranchers lost a total of 33 cattle, out of roughly 3.3 million statewide. (No human has been attacked by wolves in the state’s modern history.)

I’m quite glad we don’t have to worry about wolves in this country.

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