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« Two years after | Main | Political murder »
Tuesday
Sep242013

Obsessive talk of deniers at the Met Office

This is a guest post by Ken Bosomworth.

Obsessive talk of deniers by some at Met Office headquarters

An afternoon, which included plans to grab foreign met equipment, ends with a bang

It was a chilly November afternoon when I made my most recent visit to the UK Meteorological Office headquarters at Victory House, London.  (This description of my visit is, incidentally,  entirely true, and it is unlikely that any of the Met Office staff involved will deny it.) As on previous visits I accompanied my father who had worked there as a met officer, and had now received a couple of promotions.  On this particular occasion he was involved, I gathered, in an important and hush-hush plan relating to the future coordination of observations and forecasting of winds and temperatures in the extreme North of Europe, particularly Norway.

Not being qualified to participate in the planning myself, I remained with a group of a dozen (mostly female) met office employees, some of whom wore special clothes and were described by my father as waffs.  Apparently they were delegated to accompany me for the afternoon, and see that I didn't get into any troublesome exploits, while the senior staff had their  big meeting down the corridor.  (Aficionados of  British civil service trivia will already have recognized that the Met Office moved its headquarters from Victory House some time ago.  They may have deduced that the events I am describing took place a while back, and they would be correct.)

The afternoon drifted by pleasantly enough, with cups of tea and polite conversation.  Interestingly, climate change was never once discussed.  In due course, the chit-chat turned to the apparently-important subject of male companionship, both in qualitative and quantitative terms.  Most of this went entirely above my head, although I perceived the qualitative factors tended to relate to the appearance of the respective male acquaintances, while the quantitative factors revolved around money and deniers (and not necessarily in that order).  Having never heard the term “deniers” before, I had no notion what they were talking about.  I gathered, however, that the term seemed to pop up in concert with descriptions of hosiery gifts of nylon or silk.  The bigger the denier number, the more impressive the gift.  Americans, it seemed, could be expected to come up with more deniers than Brits, although there were heated arguments about the significance and consequences of this disparity.

It was dusk as my father and I headed out of Victory House, and into the packed Underground station nearby.  On the way down to the train, I asked my father about deniers and his reply made little or no sense to me.  (I am moderately sure that the word never came up in his meeting at Victory House, a meeting which I – much, much later – deduced to be about an activity code-named Operation Apostle and was about many things, but not about deniers.)  Stepping gingerly around the rows of cots in the underground station, I still recollect the  warm, fetid gust of humid air redolent with the smell of brake dust and unwashed humanity, as the packed underground train approached.  

What made the visit memorable, and caused it to stick in my mind, was not the talk of deniers or the cups of tea.  It was what was to come next:  just as we emerged into the open air at King's Cross station, there was the biggest explosion that I ever heard, and an idling locomotive could be seen to jump an inch or two from the tracks as the shock wave hit it.  It did not required an advanced education to understand the explosion was caused by a German bomb,  probably a V2 rocket.

The events I am describing had nothing to do with global warming, of course.  They took place in 1944, when I was 4-1/2 years old, and the kind young ladies at the Met Office included members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), the distaff side of the British Royal Air Force.  (The wartime Met Office was, at that time, part of the RAF).   The operation being discussed at my father's meeting concerned the capture and later functioning of the meteorological station at Fornebu airfield in Oslo, Norway.

As it happened, and fortunately for all concerned, the “capture” of Fornebu's met instruments took place a few days after VE Day in May 1945, and involved no resistance on the part of the Germans.  In fact, my RAF Squadron Leader father was among the first of the Allied force to land at Fornebu, and received from his Luftwaffe counterpart the surrender of his weapons, along with the intact weather station.  And, at age 73, I don't know a whole lot more about deniers, as applied to nylon stockings, than I did in 1944.

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Reader Comments (17)

The fine mess(h) the warmists have produced for themselves could certainly be 22 denier.
I am fortunate too be old enough to have started 'dating' before tights took over. The thickened part of the stocking top which attached to the suspender belt was referred to as the giggle band. If you got that far you were laughing!
Getting quite flushed at the memories.

Sep 24, 2013 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

Lol... just got it!
At first I flashed on holocaust denial.
google denier and read close

Sep 24, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim A

Sui generis indeed.

Sep 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I sometimes deliberately misread 'denier' as the measurement of stocking fineness (strictly speaking, the thickness of the nylon fibre), which makes the warmist nonsense it usually appears in even more nonsensical. It's certainly easier to take than a thinly veiled reference to those who deny far worse events.

I enjoyed the piece, too - a refreshing change from all the speculation about AR5!

Sep 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Indeed, Mr Bosomworth (oh, what a beautiful name) and Mr Watkins, if you were fans of the Goon Show, you may recall the edition of the programme when Max Geldray sang "Long Black Nylons"... It has stuck in my mind for nearly 60 years. Stocking tops for ever.

Sep 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

I certainly remember the word "denier" in reference to the quality of stockings
but I cannot recall it being used in a plural form. Usually it was accompanied by
a number which denoted the fineness of the stocking. 15 denier or 30 denier
are two that I recall but I'm damned if I can remember which was the better
quality.

Sep 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

I guess that pesadia has never shaved his legs!

Sep 24, 2013 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

pesadia: the lower the denier the sheerer the stocking - 15 is lucky to last the night. Or so my lovely wife has found.

Sep 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

Puh-leeze, Hose yoursel's down there lads.


You needed your tights on - shipping out on the Arctic convoys.


There was a Bosomworth butchers in Filey.

Sep 25, 2013 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

No sooner writ than plagiarised, Mr. Bosomworth.

I have taken the liberty of inserting your paragraph on the V2 strike in the Family History I am writing. In June 1944 my mother's diary would refer baldly to "8 or 9 raids". With the Lufwaffe defeated by that time, I'm sure that these can only have been V2s coming in.

Sep 25, 2013 at 5:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Slow news day. I thought I was on WUWT for a minute and stumbled onto one of Willis Eschenbach's rambles.

Sep 25, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"And, at age 73, I don't know a whole lot more about deniers, as applied to nylon stockings, than I did in 1944."

A pedant writes denier pronounced "denee-er" was ubdeed a measure of the thickness of then nylon, and for some reason was in factors of 15. However the lower the number, the higher the quality. They were indeed scarce in the UK to the point of being near impossible to acquire because toffs wore silk stockings. American soldiers had them in abundance and in an effort to cheer our young ladies up during the dark days of the wore gave them and cigarettes away cheerily as an act charity. Humbling to think those young men so far from home thought only of the needs and comforts of our girls in time of war.

Sep 25, 2013 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Great post - nice change of pace.

Sep 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

"American soldiers had them in abundance"

Which was very prescient of them...

Sep 25, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Geronimo now now :-), in the Kensington area of Liverpool during the war (Empress/Albert Edward), there was an American G.I. who organised everything for the kids. Chocolate, parties. Someone my parents talked about in their old age, of course not discounting the fact that he may also have showed the same regard for the ladies.

Sep 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I remember that nylon was sequestered for use in parachutes, and stockings were not to be had. My aunt Harriet had a kit to color her legs like nylon stockings would, complete with a bottle of dark dye with applicator to mimic the seam down the back of the leg!

I guess that was 0 denier... or infinite...don't know how the standard runs.

Sep 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimbrock

Thanks for this nice story. I believe the weather station at Fornebu was operating until 1998, when the airport was closed down and everything moved to Gardermoen, now the main Oslo airport.

Sep 25, 2013 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmatør1

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