How we giggled when our English master introduced us to the idea of the pathetic fallacy. 'Don't think much of your fallacy, pretty pathetic if you ask me', we'd say to one another. We were schoolboys, after all.
Twenty-five years ago, there was the Great Storm. I returned from a meeting plotting the revolutionary overthrow of the existing relations of production and watched the late-night weather forecast. I saw Michael Fish reassure us that the viewer who had rung in with a warning of a hurricane was mistaken. A few hours later, I woke as the power went off. I mainly remember how warm it was. In the morning I made my way to work through streets filled with debris. I always walked to work, so the collapse of public transport didn't matter to me. We had a departmental union meeting scheduled for that morning; the meeting went ahead. We would not let a little breeze divert us from our purpose.
Slowly I realised how great the storm had been. I visited my parents in Cambridgeshire; whole avenues of trees near Newmarket had gone. A trip by train to Brighton showed me devastation at the side of the track. Trees rooted for hundreds of years had gone in a night.
A few days later my brother left England for good; the woman with whom I lived at that time left, suddenly and without explanation. Was it something to with the weather?
Twenty-five years later, Michael Fish appears from time to time at the end of the local news, forecasting away.