Cornish flood doesn't spell gloom

I LOVE a good storm, don't you? There is something tremendously exciting about the power of nature wielded in brilliant lightning and clattering thunder.

I LOVE a good storm, don't you?

There is something tremendously exciting about the power of nature wielded in brilliant lightning and clattering thunder.

I enjoyed the tempest that passed over our heads on Wednesday morning - though I could wish it hadn't woken me an hour or so before the alarm was due.

Rain heavy enough to strike awe into the heart, to remind us how small and unimportant we are in the great scheme of things, is good for people.

Though I dare say the good folk of Boscastle might not all agree right now.

Still, I imagine there must be a kind of euphoria in coming through the kind of experience they have this week, and knowing they all survived.

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Going back into their wrecked or mud-filled homes will have been less fun.

After something like that, you might not fancy living in such a place any more.

And I'm sure the pictures of devastation will have a devastating effect too on Cornwall's tourism industry.

I spent a very happy day in Boscastle last year. It was a lovely place, less afflicted than some by the worst excesses of the trade in tourist tat.

The Witchcraft Museum was fascinating and delightful, as well as having its inevitable share of tackiness. I'm sure thousands of people will mourn its sad fate, as I do.

Mostly, Boscastle's charm lay in its geographical position. You could see, though, how the shape of the coast and the layout of the village made it prone to the sort of catastrophe that struck it on Monday.

The place is built in the mouth of a natural funnel. Too much rain falling too quickly on the hillsides above, and disaster was sure to strike. Easy to say that now.

It was bound to happen, the meteorologists say - once every 250 years or so.

So let's not rush to claim the Boscastle flood as another sign of impending global doom.

There has always been weather in England. Not as extreme, perhaps, as in many parts of the world, but unpredictable enough for it to have been our favourite topic of conversation for centuries.

The weather has always affected our history. Rain at Agincourt and Waterloo, and fog at Culloden, helped the English win major victories.

Snow at Towton in April 1461 was a crucial factor in what was probably the bloodiest battle ever on English soil. A huge storm did more than Drake's navy to save the country from the Spanish Armada in 1588.

I can confidently forecast that there will be rain in England next year, the year after, and the year after that. Especially during Wimbledon and at the start of the cricket season. With or without global warming.

IN my mother's schooldays, so she tells me, girls' skirts were carefully measured.

Glum pupils were made to kneel in a line, and woe betide any girl whose hem came too near the floor.

Long skirts were then the adult fashion, and therefore considered desirable by girls and undesirable by teachers.

It is not long ago that I recall a handful of brave girls standing up to their headmasters for the right to wear trousers. My own school was rare in allowing girls to cover their legs.

How odd, then, to see Kesgrave High School now insisting that they do.

And yet anyone who has driven along Main Road, Kesgrave just before or after school will see the headteacher's point.

Perhaps the rule should also be applied to whichever nubile, pouting young lovely is steaming up the pop charts this week.

I noted with satisfaction this week, that boys in uniform still look as dishevelled, scruffy and generally badly put-together as we did.

QUOTE of the week is from Sven Goran Eriksson: "It's the best thing in life - a football match."

That's probably the most hurtful thing he could have said for Nancy. Or Faria. Or Ulrika.

What is it that beautiful (and much younger) women find irresistible in a bloke who could bore for England - and indeed does?

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