The merits of a backup plan….
I am sitting in the eye of the storm typing. I have no power, therefore no phone, lights or water (as the borehole pump is out). There is a sink full of washing up which I can’t do and I can’t take a shower either – lovely, if you smell of horses! Funny how little things like that can be stressful. The fridge and freezer are out as well. I have checked the ridiculously large number of fuse boards in the house and on the yard and nothing has tripped, so I assume it’s a lack of mains power and that I am not the only one who has been affected in the valley. Winds have been raging at 90-100 miles per hour since last night. I struggled to muck out this morning (in torrential rain, as well as wind) and I am meant to be writing a press release to launch this website but I won’t be able to send it to anyone as I have no internet!
The horses are used to the wind so Talisman braved the walker first thing (briefly and begrugingley) and they are now out in the field for a couple of hours in as many rugs as I could put on them, as they are probably safer out than in – I have had roof repairs done to the stables but the wind noise is horrendous.
The plastic covering protecting the Cruck barn whilst it is awaiting repair, has come away on one side and is flapping dangerously. So a ‘mayday’ text was sent (before I lost connection) to roofer Sion. Fingers crossed he comes, or the whole lot will be off. Slates have been flying off the roof all morning.
Whilst mucking out, I noticed pieces of timber on the yard and couldn’t figure out where they had come from until I checked the garden and found a pile of debris on the lawn. I still couldn’t figure it out, thinking it must have come off one of my buildings. Then I noticed a neighbouring barn was missing a large section of roof and the back wall which, it seems, went airborne and landed on the roof of my Cruck barn (the good bit) which now has a hole in it. Good grief!!
Feeling a bit better for a coffee (at least the Rayburn still works) and cake, of course, I’m went out to start the generator. Thank God for the back-up plan and, joy, as I headed out Sion the roofer arrived. Using hand signals only, as it was impossible to be heard in the wind, he climbed up on the roof and re-nailed the plastic covering – what a saint! “The worst must be over” I thought (and prayed)….
But no! The generator started though to my horror, nothing would run on it, not even a light bulb. My heart sank. It’s new and powerful so clearly there was an electrical fault. I would have to drive into the town to phone the electrician. First, I needed to get the boys in. As I headed off to the field, I was chased by the cowl which had just flown off the chimney connected to the Rayburn, so that was another fix to add to the growing list. I went back to check the kitchen and it was already smelling of burning oil with the wind pushing fumes down the flu. So the one warm room it the house was now uninhabitable – great! At least I could light the wood burner later.
However, there was a grand finale still to come and as I went down the hill to get the horses, I saw it! The field shelter was positioned one whole field further away than it had been two hours earlier when I turned the boys out! For the second time in as many weeks it had left the ground, this time doing two complete somersaults (judging from the marks on the ground) and landing on the bank of the stream at the very bottom of my land, a total wreck! The guttering that had been damaged in its inaugural flight during the previous gale had only just been fixed and, having had it for all of six months, it was now a write-off with the metal frame bent and broken, the roof crushed and debris scattered around the field.
Worse still, the horses had witnessed the acrobatics as they were in the field next door. Talisman was calm and had clearly only dug a hole to roll. Taz, on the other hand, was in a state of high anxiety and had trashed his paddock completely and now wouldn’t be caught. So two trips up the hill in the ferocious wind were required and, with no hose, muddy legs were washed off with a sponge using freezing water from the yard butts. An anxious friend arrived to check I was OK and I burst into tears!
Later on, I made the trip to town to phone a few people and get provisions in. I also bumped into Mike (the ‘bird man’ and man of many talents). He returned home with me to look at the generator and managed to get it running a bit, which was a relief. With just an hour of light left and the gale easing to a normal ‘super-windy’ Welsh day, I tacked Talisman up and headed out to do a fitness trot up the ‘hill from hell’. At least that was one positive thing. Horses to bed, fire lit and supper cooked on the Rayburn (wearing a mask!), I am typing again, this time by candlelight.
After all the excitement of the day, a power-nap beckons with Bryngywn in front of the fire before going out to tuck the horses up. With no internet, I can’t do anything else so I am finally going to get that all elusive early night. How poignant that it has been an extreme rewilding day on the very day I was going to launch my new site of the same subject. How we take for granted the simple conveniences of life, such as electricity! What on earth was it like 500 years ago in the extreme Welsh weather when the property was built? Thankfully, we (the animals and me) survived and I had a dry run of my backup plan which was found wanting!