It has suddenly gone quiet, the house has stopped creaking, groaning and shaking, the chimney has stopped rattling and the only noise is the gentle hum of the boiler, the swoosh of the dishwasher and the rumble of the washing machine. Radio 4 is back and I can listen dulcet tones of the Shipping Forecast announcer without speculating on whether it is going to be storm force 10 or violent storm force 11 for the Hebrides. The weather demons have departed leaving a trail of wreckage from Ness Point (northerly tip of Isle of Lewis) to Barra and beyond. We are now enjoying an icy blast from the north with wintry showers, but at last we have some sunshine.
I do not wish to experience such a prolonged period of storm force winds ever again and I’m not sure which sent my adrenal glands into hyperdrive, being hit by winds of 110 mph or watching the lightening strike outside the window. I hid under the duvet with my head below the pillows wondering if I’d be safer under the bed and concluded that even extra strength, double reinforced Hebridean Zen wasn’t going to calm my fears. It is not an experience I would recommend you to put on the “things to do before I die” list, as for anyone of a nervous disposition it may hasten the end. Fortunately the house and the cottage are undamaged, although the greenhouse and the polytunnel are a little battered. Plant evacuation plans were not on part of my extreme weather strategy, they are now!
The damage to the polytunnel looks serious, fortunately it only requires rebolting of some of the end struts and up to four new roof sections. We’re not sure how the polythene was torn, as it is so strong that you can walk on the roof! I had to rehouse some of the more tender overwintering plants, but everything else is still growing.
The cottage garden is on life support in intensive care and I hope the prognosis is not as bad as it appears. I won’t be able to assess the casualty figures until the spring, but previously I have always been surprised by the survival rate. However, all this is fairly trivial, as some islanders have seriously damaged houses and outbuildings. Fortunately Hebrideans are resilient and although everyone looks tired and careworn, they still have time to stop and ask how you are before moaning about the weather.
I’d like to thank everyone who was kind enough to enquire as to our welfare and apologise for not reading and commenting on everyone’s posts, but I have been a little preoccupied and the electricity has been intermittent. However, I’m back, at least until the next storm and power cut.