This morning's Shipping Forecast, which I listen to most mornings at 5:30 despite having no intention of taking to the high seas, is full of dire gale warnings, even a Force 12 here and there. The announcer, as usual, lists the maritime conditions matter-of-factly, but I detect a tone of glee as he predicts a "vigorous depression" heading our way.
This is not the sort of news that will get people out of bed, surprisingly.
Instead I lie there, grateful I'm not in water-locked Bailey, where there's Violent Storm 11 expected, occasionally Hurricane Force 12 in South, decreasing 7 to severe gale 9 later. I imagine sailors, battening down their hatches, scurrying to hoist the mainsail, or whatever sailors do during Violent Storm 11s. Pray, probably.
Maybe they'll make for Rockall, where they'll find conditions a little better: Squally showers, moderate or poor. Too bad there are no warm pubs on Rockall, or even permanent human settlements.
I contemplate heading to Faeroes, Cyclonic 7 to severe Gale 9, but I suspect I'd need a passport and a sturdy windbreaker. Fair Isle, despite the optimistic name, will see occasional outbreaks of Violent Storm 11 as well. Best head south, if you're in charge of the rudder.
Today's a good day to be a Lundian, or whatever residents of Lundy call themselves. They've no gales in the forecast, and have organized themselves with a proper pub or two. Must have somewhere to bring the odd shipwrecked sailor.
The Inshore Waters Forecast delivers better news, though Cape Wrath is in for rough seas. What do they expect, naming the place after an emotional outburst?
The Inshore Waters Forecast is where things get really interesting. I lie there, waiting for the announcer to get tripped up when he comes to Ardnamurchan Point. But he successfully navigates the diphthongs of the Scottish waters. I'm relieved, and wide awake now after my tempestuous roller-coaster ride around the British Isles.
It's days like this when I'm glad to be a landlubber, with nothing more challenging to my maritime safety than a moderate puddle here and there.