At the Mayor’s Charity Poetry Reading held in the Guildhall, Lichfield on Saturday 19th February, Michael Fabricant read out the Beaufort Scale from the 19th Century Sailor’s Manual. Reading from 0 (Dead Calm) up to a crescendo of Hurricane Force 12 and back down again to 0, descriptions included: “Dead Calm, zero Force, tree leaves don’t move, smoke rises vertically, sea is calm;…….Fresh Breeze, Force 5, small trees sway, flags flap and ripple, moderate waves with white caps;…….Gale Force 8, twigs break of trees, moderately high sea with blowing foam;…….Storm Force 10, some trees blown down, damage to buildings;……. Hurricane Force 12, extreme destruction, severe and extensive damage.”
“I thought reading from the Beafort Scale and adding a bit of drama as we approached Hurricane Force 12 would be something different”, says Michael Fabricant. “I knew others would be reading conventional poems and I have read from Kipling and others in previous years. But during the week in Westminster I rarely get back to bed before midnight and often get to hear the shipping forecast on Radio 4 at 00:45 in the morning. And with the windy weather we have been having recently, I felt that this would be rather appropriate”.