Arthur Heads North & Gates of Vienna Returns from Coventry

Why were we out of business? I have no idea. Henrik did something or other and we’re back. He and the Baron will discuss when the latter returns.

On Fourth of July (tomorrow) Hurricane Arthur should be off the coast of Virginia, bringing assorted weather our way for certain. It had been forecast to remain a Category One but now they’re saying maybe it will move into a Category Two for a brief while during its sojourn past Virginia’s coast. Right now there are lots of passing storms, a breeze mostly from the south, and intermittent sunshine. The temperature has dropped at least fifteen degrees.

We’re about three hours away from the coast – though more like two hours as the crow flies, and hurricanes do use crow flight. In other words, the weatherlies will increase and we’ll get some high winds and rain tomorrow. The rain will be most welcome, the possibility of downed trees not so great. If it is too severe it will delay the Baron’s return until it moves along.

The Baron is having a great time watching the Weather Channel on the TV in his motel room. He gets to see all the forecast models and listen to meteorological geek talk. Why do we like to watch weather so much? How do they keep one channel devoted solely to weather?? Sans TV, I’m watching the live stream from a web camera installed in some inlet in North Carolina; things have picked up in the short time I’ve been watching but the boats there are all safely battened down.

Our beloved Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a part of a long Barrier Reef which runs the length of the North Carolina coast (poking a bit into Virginia), is going to get creamed once again, probably just as Arthur turns into a Category Two. Mandatory evacuations via the state’s ferries is required during one of these super-storms.

The erosion with each new blow means that eventually Ocracoke will disappear, taking a small piece of Britain with it. Hmmm…are Brits like Islam? Bury British bodies on that spot and it becomes a part of Her Majesty’s Empire? The link will show you a few pictures, but I’d recommend doing a Google Image search for more views of the cemetery. We always visited when we were on the Island. To pay our respects, to come smack up against the past, to remind ourselves of our own mortality.

The erosion damage is most apparent on the very thin road that takes one from the mainland to the island. Road crews are always out pushing back the dunes that continue to form as the road washes away. I saw a brief glimpse of it today and the storm is already washing over it. I hope everyone made it off the island – though I have an idea the natives stay home if it’s only a Category Two.

There is a listing of the communities – and a mention of their distinctive “brogue” on this wiki about the Outer Banks. A fascinating place. Yes, it does indeed make me sad to think I will never be well enough to make that long trek again. It’s one of those moments when you wish you could go back to the last time you were there and know at the time you won’t be able to return. But the memories are good ones so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t know…those long bike rides were great fun on the last trip.

Perhaps it’s enough to know our son will continue the tradition since he loves Ocracoke, too.

As for tomorrow, Fourth of July, the annual observance of America’s independence…I think I’ll skip the ceremonies this year. It feels too much like a raw wound at the moment, with little to celebrate.

3 thoughts on “Arthur Heads North & Gates of Vienna Returns from Coventry

  1. Lovely story, Dymphna, especially the piece on the British cemeteries.

    BBC Radio 4 had an interesting piece a few days ago, about the “Star Spangled Banner”. I hear that Francis Scott Key wrote the words upon seeing you defeat us (deservedly) at Baltimore, but the tune is British, so let it stand for our mutual goodwill.

    A Happy Independence Day to Americans everywhere!

    • Mark —

      The tune to “The Star Spangled Banner” is Welsh. The same goes for many of the greatest CofE hymns. According to a very subjective assessment (i.e. mine), about 90% of the best tunes in the Anglican hymnal were written by Welshmen. For instance, “Hyfrydol” by Rowland Pritchard.

      The best liturgical music from the 16th through the 18th centuries was German, but to my ear, the 19th century is owned by the Welsh. Marvellous, marvellous hymnody came out of Wales.

      • You’ll get no argument from me, Baron. but I wrote “British”, not “English”.

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