My encounter with a twister

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Some years ago, I had a bizarre beach experience on the acres of golden sand that form Viareggio’s golden miles.

As you may remember, I spent time there in a college doing an intensive Italian course and would study my socks off in the morning alongside ace class-mate Tony Edwards (Deep Purple’s manager) and other European students, then enjoyed cycling through the aromatic pine wood to the beach.

Carol Forster

Carol Forster

It was sweltering early August and I travelled light in bikini and shorts.

Once arrived, a cold drink at the beach bar before finding a lounger and parasol was a small joy.

This became a very pleasant daily routine where I’d listen to my favourite sounds – Al Green and John Waite – while lying beneath a giant striped umbrella.

Picture this: Intense heat warmed my skin with clear blue skies above; people darted in and out of the limpid sea; a quick swim followed by the sensual experience of being semi asleep as water droplets evaporated off my skin.

I closed my eyes and then reopened them sleepily to see the people had vanished and the sea was empty!

A few screams here and there! What on earth was going on? Was Jaws having an Italian moment I wondered but then turned to see an ominous black sky encroaching. I puzzled why this would cause people to scream until I saw the object of such terror...

A tornado was moving swiftly and shamelessly across the waters towards the beach. It swaggered on without a care in the world so that I too became a bundle of anxiety running frantically away from the beach.

I figured screaming wouldn’t halt the terrible twister so managed to refrain. Hopping on to my bike and aiming to make good my escape,

I raced back through the pine forest donned in bikini with water strapped on. I soon realised, however, that it had gone as quickly as it came whirring proudly out to sea.

Back to the beach I went so that in a flash, life resumed as if nothing had occurred. One of life’s stranger moments.