Geoffrey Isotope, who worked in the ‘Jam’ section of the Ministry of Transport and Chaos, used his training to forecast the effect of the weather on traffic patterns and movement: all very good and worthy I think you’ll agree. Over the preceding fifty years his department had come out with a series of firm, irrefutable and final ‘Laws of Weather and its Relation to Traffic Flow’, which laws it contradicted, amended and altered regularly, as is the custom within the walls of local and central government offices all over the world.
At home he was a private, prim and well turned out man who had only recently ceased to wear a tie in bed in case an unforeseen need for decorum found him underdressed in the early hours of the morning. Now suffering from what his niece and a number of doctors called ‘Statistical Exhaustion’ he was determined to bring predictability into all areas of his life, and that of his family at 49 Wallup Road in Sidcup.
After a period of thorough research, he at last felt confident enough to issue the first of his emotional weather forecasts on Boxing day of this year which read as follows.
“Following a period of non-specific euphoria related to the season and various customs, a period of mild depression will overcome the household following the sudden death of Aunt Gertrude. The depression is expected to reach a magnitude of 4.2, milder than expected and mitigated by her lack of popularity and insignificance as a source of inherited wealth. The depression will ease with the approaching new year, leading to a period of extended elation. A deep area of low pressure bought on by the return to work and bouts of over spending will then last throughout the month of January.”
Naturally he had worked on this throughout the evening and left his neatly typed forecast outside the doors of his two children and on the bedside table of his wife. His two children, George and Gemma, would read the prediction early in the morning and thus, would be in Geoffrey’s opinion, better able to face the vagaries of the day. His wife, Gabby, had been wooed on the basis of her first name because, in the Isotope family, names of both sex’s always began with the letter ‘G’, and finding decent women with a knowledge of catering and reasonable ironing skills was hard enough, without adding the letter requirement to the hunt. Never the less, Geoffrey had managed the quest with success and in his terms, was “enjoying an extended period of emotional high pressure with occasional storms and unrest originating in the undisciplined circles of his in-laws.”
It should be noted, for the curious, that his first and greatest love; gifted in both the catering and ironing departments, and blessed with a more than standard level of beauty, had declined to change her name from Victoria to some first name beginning with the letter ‘G’ despite the wide variety of choice available. Her stubbornness had been noted and, with some reluctance, the courtship drawn to a close
Their cat, “Gandale”, not to be excluded, also received her copy of the forecast and it was hoped the periods of reading lessons given to it by its patient mentor, Gemma, would allow it to access the necessary levels of literacy.