Monday, 26 January 2009

The calm after the storm

Saturday morning was a bit full-on – and not just because we had to get ready for Her Outdoors’ and the Daughter’s joint birthday party.

As I walked down the drive to feed the animals in the morning, I thought I could see a huge river coming out of the woods on the far side of the land, where a river should not be. Fortunately, it was just a huge river coming out of another part of the land, where it shouldn’t be but sometimes is.

I walked round the caravan at the bottom of the drive to find the awning in tatters, metal poles bent this way and that, plastics dustbins with animal feed open to the rain, many months of accumulated bits and pieces in dire need of clearing up.

Which I would have done straight away, if I didn’t need to check on the polytunnel. The plastic was flapping around in what can also be described as a stiff breeze. Two of the horizontal poles were bent (they’re made from galvanised steel – I think – anyway, they’re bloody heavy). And there were a number of bits and pieces that needed rescuing.

Which I would have done straight away, if I didn’t need to feed the animals. As I walked towards Pepito with some hay, the electric fence blew over (it’s all about timing). The plastic spacers (have I told you how much I hate plastic?) sheered off at the base, becoming landfill for the next 2,000 years. Fortunately, the hay distracted Pepito long enough for me to get some metal spacers from the chicken run, where I found the small chicken house resting on its back, having cast off its roof.

Only Arc One – the pig house – was left unscathed.

I went steadily to and fro, filling the caravan with animal food, tools, rubbish, pieces and bits. Dividing my time between the awning (which I dismantled and then ripped down, to discover I have a new and very useful tarpaulin – huzzah) and the polytunnel (ever tried to handle a 10 x 6 metre piece of plastic in a gale?) when – BANG, CRASH, WALLOW – I looked over to see the pig-house roof cartwheeling down the field, popping a rivet as it went.

At this point I swore. You know the word. I shan’t repeat it here.

Eventually, wooden posts were securing the horse field, rocks had been moved to help the river run through, the caravan was full of stuff, the plastic was stashed, the chicken house righted and I went home for lunch. Where I found we had no electricity and Her Outdoors had no mobile phone reception.

Needful to say, the party was blissful. The house was lit by dozens of candles. The only sound was next door’s generator. And a hardy group of English mafia (not everyone made it, for reasons mentioned above) stood around eating our national dish – Indian.


dND said...

A bit blowy wasn't it! Hopefully you've got electricity back by now - hence post - and some semblance of normality.

Happy birthdays to HO & D, definitely one to remember.

I hoping to get my roof fixed on Thursday - will have someone here to help as I don't fancy venturing onto the roof on my own. Then it's the trees :-)

devolutionary said...

Sorry about the roof. I'm told it was the worst storm in 10 years - up to 114mph - and a massive percentage of trees were downed in Landes. Our trees are still upstanding, which is a relief, as next time there's a big storm, we'll be living among them.

daveq said...

Closer inspection (ie at the top of a very long ladder) told me we were very lucky. We had about 50 tiles lifted off the roof, but almost all were off the roof overhang, so we got negligible water inside the building. Even more miraculous was that despite every windowsill being covered in broken tiles, not one window was broken.

Thank you God/Allah/Flying Spaghetti Monster/(insert vengeful god types here)

devolutionary said...

One of the guys at work here got a tile through the back window of his car when parked at St Avit. He described a scene of devastation. (And not just in the car.) Which is why he wasn't there on saturday. Also, they were without power and water. Happy to hear all nearly OK at yours.

Go, Flying Spaghetti Monster!