Storm Doris

Storm Doris has been and now has left us . Our village is situated on the side of the Exe valley facing west so any westerly or northwesterly winds snake down the valley and curl up over the hill rattling our windows and shaking the doors .Doris was no exception , dustbins bowled their way down the street and the wind chimes in my garden couldn't believe their luck - a cacophony of bells ,chimes and bamboo clunks filled our courtyard garden all day .

But "Doris " I ask you , who would name a storm "Doris " . Doris conjures up all that is safe and staid , the very model of respectability. In fact the only Doris I can recall is Doris Archer the farmer's wife in the long running radio soap "The Archers " .For those not in the know this has been on the radio every day for a thousand years telling the story of" everyday country folk ".Mind you Doris is going back a few generations now to when I was a lad . My mother would , at 6.45 every evening ,without fail stop what she was doing and switch on the wireless -yes I did say wireless although strictly speaking it was a radiogram .She would tune the magic green light to the Home Service and we would all listen to the Archers . Doris was everything that a farmers wife should be , she was the epitome of farmers' wives . Broad of hip ,ample of bosom and constantly baking apple pie and always wearing a fresh pinny , at least that's how I remember her .

My sister and I would sit and have high tea and when it was over bedtime loomed ; no TV ,no computers ,no mobile phones in fact no fridge come to think of it , or washing machine just an old boiler to do the washing on Monday wash day . During the winter months I would undress under the blankets as it was so cold and I would sneak a copy of The Wizard comic to read later by torchlight under the covers . In the summer I would stare longingly at the unlined curtains which barely made the room dark wishing I could still be out playing in the evening sunshine . It seemed so unfair to be made to go to bed in the daylight .

All these memories evoked by the name "Doris" - who would have thought it , I bet not the weather men .

19 Replies

  • oh, George. That's perfect. It's amazing what you can evoke in just a few short paragraphs. Do you just spin it out or do you edit as you go? Your writing has such a natural flow of sounds and sights and smells, present to past, morning to night. Such richness. Thanks.

  • I just kind of write it .Things pop into my head in the day and then I sit down after I have put V to bed and unjumble them and hope it comes out OK .Sometimes when I read it back I might take something out or add something in .But on the whole I shut my eyes and go with the flow .You always write beautifully and evocatively and others on this site write with passionand emotion.I just like juntering on .

  • George lovely as always, feel like I am in your village when reading your post. It was very windy here today, took George to the hospital, the wind blew his cap of, lots of laughter, wind blowing us along.

    The nurse in with the doctor was called Dorothy, I looked at her and was thinking of the wizard of oz , wanted to smile when I thought about it.

    Yvonne xxxx

  • Keep juntering on

  • Hi Georgepa, I was in London today, feeling battered by Doris. One of the roads leading up to the Shard, made a particularly boisterous wind tunnel and as I looked up and saw all those panes of glass I suddenly thought what would happen if it hadn't been built so well. Fortunately all was OK. We headed towards the aroma of Borough market where people from many lands were cooking food sizzling on hot plates and over flames. A particularly strong gust of wind flew along the rows and stainless steel pan lids blew off the pans and crashed to the floor sounding like the percussionist practicing on his cymbals. There was such a good atmosphere, everyone was happy amongst the commotion.

    Do you still listen to The Archers? I do, every day, often on catch-up. As C decided to leave me as I sat beside him to listen together, it is a special time for me. I also used to listen with my parents, not by choice, and when I started work my boss put the radio on in the office every lunchtime. It wasn't my lunchtime however, so for 12 1/2 minutes every day I would often be talking on the phone to members of the public with a finger in my ear to keep the Archers out.

    Your post brought back so many memories, ice on the inside of the windows was one.

    OK. Off to listen to today's episode as I missed it and will be out during the repeat tomorrow.

    Lots of love


  • I loved those feathery patterns on the window with the frost and then if you licked the window there was that gloriously terrifying moment when your tongue stuck to the glass . Would it be there forever ?

  • Such a gentle relief after Dick Barton secret Agent......Happy days x

  • Thanks made me smile 😊

  • You are one amazing writer Georgepa

    Thank you for sharing and making our day

    Much love to you and V x

  • Superb

    Reading that was a lovely start to my day.

    We brought the wind chimes in before we got deafened and then I played 'Chase the cloche' in the garden.

    The wheelie bins had a race up the street and onto my neighbours BMW. I got to play goalie.

  • HI your post made me laugh but in there was sadness too, I remember when I was a little girl and all we had was a coal fire in the lounge and upstairs the ice would form inside the windows in our bedrooms sooo cold our cat used to attack my mother when she had gotten out of a hot bath (heated the pipes by the coal fire). Flippin freezing that house. And also the long summer nights those were the days xxx

    P.s. My grandmother always listened to the Archers can't say that I ever did really. xxx

  • My Grandma was called Doris but my grandad usually called her 'Blossom' she was a kind fun lady who would give her last penny away although she had very little. We had high winds in East Sussex but have seen and heard worse. (I.e. The last Hurricane, which was something else! ) I hope all others of you I n the U.K. didnt get any damage, looks as if some of the snowstorms brought things to a halt in the north. Roll on spring. xx

  • Lovely post, bought back so many memories. Me and my sister dreaded the theme music, as it always meant bedtime.

    As for the name Doris. That's my nick name!!! My daughter and her Uni friends named me Doris. "Old Girl!", when I telephoned her at college. Thought it was because I was always on the phone, but got into serious trouble, with all of them, when I stopped ringing!

    Now it's just stuck. I get some funny looks, when someone's calls Doris and I look around.

    Mind you, I could have done with some of her strength, just hid indoors under the blanket, waiting for the storm to pass.

    Lots of love


  • Thanks George for the word picture and memories. I have similar memories of the Archers and how after returning from sea or holiday I was able to pick up the story lines within a couple of episodes. Ice on inside of windows remember well and reading the "Eagle" under the blankets, oh what times they were and glad for modern conveniences such as double glazing and central heating.

    Doris blew in and out howling round the roof and flattening my daffodils which opened in the storm.

    Rhyl faces the North West and so took the brunt of the 90mph winds. The sea was high and flood defences tested an old pier in Colwyn bay collapsed. But the castle defied the rain and wind as usual. The river broke the banks and flooded the sheep meadows but no major damage.

    Best wishes to you Both Tim

  • Ah, Rhyl. We had many a good family holiday there.

    Yes, I saw the photos, the Irish sea did kick up really quite amazingly.

    I seldom looked forward to sailing in that lumpy ill tempered little sea.

    Daffodils already!

    Glad you survived.

    Waiving and wishing you a good Spring.


  • March roaring in as usual - but a bit early!

    Saw that Doris had been on News. Pictures of cars crushed under fallen trees. Big trees! Sounds like fun in the country chasing dustbins down the street. Enjoyed that, Kevin!

    Remember Dick Barton too - and his "Thunder riders" ? And I used to listen to "Journey into Space" too, under the bedclothes on my crystal set that my dad made me! Must have been all of 5 years old and put to bed at 6.30!

    Thanks for the memories!

    Jen xxx

  • You are so wonderful George. Thank you for sending me elsewhere for awhile ... with your words I saw my first episode of The Archers. Though they were not farmers, we had the Andy Griffith show...on TV....But Aunt Bea looked very much the same as Doris....When you walked into her home you were instantly made welcome by the aroma's coming from the kitchen...

    Do you think "watching" a show like this....on the radio helped you become such a wonderful writer? I think it's more your gift , thank you for sharing it with us.....

    I do hope your garden chimes fared the weather alright..

    Thank you again for your lovely words that sends us elsewhere for a moment...


  • Ì haven't laughed so much in a long time. All those memories and they're all true. Ice on the inside of windows, heating clothes under the blankets before we put them on, the list is endless, and we never felt deprived or "stressed" either. Marie

  • Thanks for making me laugh, George. I really needed it.

    Brought back lots of memories. My children all groan when I start telling them of cold lino and jack frost inside windows. I never dared put my tongue on the ice. I knew it would stick forever.

    I also remember being in bed earlier than everyone else. Anyone here who played out late ?

    I think Doris is a funny name for a gale. I await Florence, Ethel And Gladys !!!

    love, Jean x

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