I decided to start writing this when South West Trains advised against any travel on Monday morning. It’s Sunday evening, and what has been hailed as the storm of the decade has just started battering Cornwall. Here in Hampshire, it’s very breezy, but nothing remarkable. Yet.

It’s predicted that, tonight, many trees will be uprooted, bringing down power cables and lines of communication-even getting this column to the printers may present some unusual challenges. The trees, due to the warm autumn and lack of frost, have not lost many leaves. The canopies will act as sails tearing against the trees’ roots.

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In 1987, during the ‘storm of the century’, I was working at Tattersalls, the famous horse auctioneers, in Newmarket. The storm hit during one of its sales, when hundreds of yearling racehorses were spending their first night away from what had been their home. The storm must have been terrifying for them.

I’m no horse whisperer, but I worked with some remarkable men and women that night, who calmed and soothed some extremely frightened animals. The next day, the scarred countryside looked ruined, but not a single horse was injured. I wish I could have said the same for the trees.

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