Unless you are geographically illiterate, you will know that Great Britain is a maritime nation situated on the eastern side of the North Atlantic Ocean. We are surrounded by seawater which can be as calm as a millpond or as rough as The Drake Passage.
For centuries, our ships have ventured out into the surrounding seas - transporting goods or people, catching fish or fighting wars. Many ships and many lives have been lost. That is why, in the middle of the nineteenth century, efforts were made to find ways of informing mariners about sea conditions, including storms.Linked to this ambition, surrounding waters were divided up into thirty one specific sea areas - ranging from Trafalgar in the south - off the coast of north west Spain to Southeast Iceland in the north.
Every day of the year, the London Met office broadcasts a shipping forecast via BBC Radio that covers all thirty one of those sea areas. People of my generation grew up with those forecasts - like a continuous poem that was and perhaps remains the comfortable and reassuring bedrock of our lives...."Humber, Thames. Southeast veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Thundery showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor."