Not a good week for second home owners. Sir Richard Branson’s home in the Caribbean burned to the ground after being struck by apparant lightening while housing actress Kate Winslet and her children, and even Branson’s children, enjoyed the famous spread that has housed Oprah, among other VIPs, on a private island in the British Virgin Islands. Winslet carried Branson’s mother to safety in her arms, bless her. Then Hurricane Irene is pounding the east coast from the tip of Florida’s east coast on up the Atlantic seaboard.

Friends with homes in the Carolinas are making phone calls tonight, and praying.