Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Storm



September started with a bang or to be more precise one of the violent thunderstorms that are frequent in the summer, but being very localised I rarely get. This one was however localised overhead!

It started with the sky turning yellow and then an ominous dark cloud rolling overhead. There were a few drops of light rain and then the wind began to pick up a bit. In less than a minute it as blowing a gale and the hail was flying through the air almost horizontally. Al was outside in this trying to find the cats that hadn’t made it back inside. Thankfully at the height of the storm, when I could barely see him through the hail even though he was only 25 feet away, he moved into the lee of the house – I was panicking that he had been blown over or hit by the items that were being swept across the front of the house in the wind.

A couple of minutes later and it was all over, Al was OK, all be it soaking wet but we were missing one cat, Hazel. Al eventually located her at the bottom of a deep ditch meowing pitifully, (something she is very good at). We attempted a rescue but the ditch was really overgrown and deep. Finally Al made it into the ditch and I tried to rake away some of the brambles and other weeds that were covering her, only to find that she had decided to make her way along the ditch, through the drainage pipe under the field access and up the easy way into the field, in fact the exact route we’d been trying to make her use but she had ignored while we were calling! She was extremely wet and covered in leaves but I think Al as even wetter.

DSCF0264 tiny_thumbI don’t know how people manage to photograph or film things like storms when they are happening, I was far to worried about all my animals and my son so the photos are of the aftermath taken about half an hour after the storm had passed and I was happy everyone was OK.

DSCF0265 tiny_thumbThe first one is attempting to show the layer of hail lying on the ground, while the second shows the size of some of the hailstones. We were quite lucky, in the Bordeaux region the hailstones were the size of golf balls.


DSCF0266 tiny_thumbLooking down the drive all I could see were a few branches down and the remains of one of my patio chairs that had been thrown through the air.




DSCF0268 tiny_thumbAt the back of the house I found this little heap that had been washed down the gutter,





DSCF0272 tiny_thumbIt’s always difficult to photograph the sky and give a true representation of the amazing lighting you get with storms like that but here’s my attempt.

As both Al and I were soaked to the skin and it was getting dark we gave up on outside for the day and decided to leave any further damage inspection until the following day. That was a good choice as the power went out and stayed out until very late.


DSCF0274 tinyA new day dawned, power was restored and we ventured out.  The wind had blown over everything on the patio sending all the lighter items flying towards the pump house and the alpacas.

DSCF0276 tinyThe plastic table and chairs on the lawn were as they say scattered to the wind.  A couple of chairs had their legs broken off as they blew around and the side of the table was broken but it really did need replacing next year so all in all we got away really lightly.


DSCF0279 tinyDown by the pond another part of the large poplar was toppled, so having just got that area cleared of fallen wood I’m now back to square one.  Work there though will have to wait until I get the big tractor back (it’s out on loan at the moment), as the branches are too heavy to safely use the small tractor.

During the previous evening’s power cut I had ventured out to check on a neighbour.  I’d heard a lot of noise emanating from the farm above me and wondered if they had suffered any damage.  Thankfully they hadn’t and it was just the people collecting the meat chickens, a job that’s always done at night when the chickens are roosting.

DSCF0278 tinyI had a bit of a shock as I drove down the drive though, the telephone line was down and an emergency stop was called for.  As ever it didn’t come down in a place where it could be moved aside, it’s on a corner so it crosses the drive twice.  On the plus side though, the ‘phone and Internet still work and there is just enough room to get past both points.  The question now is just how long will it take to get fixed – I reported it straight away and I can’t claim to be a priority case but 2 weeks have passed and I think it’s time to complain.


Anonymous said...

am loving the picture of the sky :)

dND said...

Thank you :-)