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Irish Eyes: Glory Days Of Gothic Weather Reportage

Published: Mon 6 Aug 2001 11:30 AM
Irish Eyes with Greg Meylan in Dublin
On The Glory Days Of Gothic Weather Reportage
As rain threatens to recrudesce across the country Irish Eyes invites you on a tour of the dungeon room, where lie the darker additions to our collective collection of weatherly wisdom.
Deep in the vaults of this office lie several hundred manuscripts detailing the great age of Gothic weather reporting. These texts are replete with ghouls, banshee wails and the necessarily bloody passions of adulterous love affairs brought to an abrupt end by the blow of a blunt hatchet or the lonely creaking of a too heavily burdened noose.
Mad women in attics abound and monsters of hideous proportions creep through corridors sucking the blood from recently beheaded fowl. As is usual in such stories much use is made of the pathetic fallacy. Indeed it is the demonic forces of endless drizzle and long dark nights upon which these reports are so carefully constructed.
A typical Gothic account of the morrow's weather would begin as the first signs of frost begin to sparkle on the wide lawn below the manor house. A waxing gibbous moon throws light enough on the gloomy outlook that you, dear reader, might witness the scene...
Upon the grass, where it meets the forest's edge, a young man carefully sets a noose over the entrance to one of the numerous rabbit holes. There is, detectable in his manner, an unusual nervousness.
A cloud covers the moon. He stands. He looks around and mutters. A slight sound makes him start at precisely the same time a gust of wind shakes loose a fall of leaves from the trees.
There would be more of this now unimaginative build up of tension before it would become apparent he was there waiting there for the daughter of the Lord of the Manor that they might flee together before the discovery of her state would lead to violent recriminations and terrible bloodletting.
When it becomes apparent she will not appear as arranged, he walks towards the one lit window of the house whereupon he glances on a scene of great horror. But before a scream of rage and maddening sorrow can rip the breath from his shaking body he is struck by a gargoyle flung from the upper storey of the house by the enraged father.
By morning his blood would have been washed off the courtyard by the nights tempest and torrent.
From this account seasoned readers would ascertain that the night would be cold with strong wind gusts followed by heavy rain yet the morning would break clear and calm. While the gargoyle's removal from its decorative role to one of practical importance would indicate the likelihood of ferry crossings being threatened due to heavy seas.
They surely were great days for weathering reporting but sadly not at all what the modern consumer of weather and weathering information wants.
"Ghoulish" Greg Meylan - paloona@yahoo.com

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