Thursday, 23 February 2017

Battered by Doris Day

Last time they tried to call a storm "Doris" it was so insulted that it veered off and fizzled out at the last moment, suffering further ignominy and being downgraded to lose the right to be named.

But Doris has clearly just been away brooding, for today she returned with a vengeance.
We don't exactly live in a sheltered part of the country. You can't live in The Fens if you don't enjoy a love/hate relationship with the wind. But Storm Doris was forecast to sweep right through the middle of the country today with a sting in the tail for Lincolnshire and East Anglia. Guess who lives right on the border of those two areas!

I was at work for the day, but had taken a few precautions like taking down some heras fencing and netting and making sure doors were shut tight. As I left in the morning the atmosphere felt ominous.

During the day the winds picked up and I could hear the gusts thudding against the windows. A tree even came down in the school garden. Social media brought me tales of flying sheds and fallen trees on friends' smallholdings. It was with some trepidation that I drove home, taking a different route to usual having heard that one of the roads was closed due to a couple of fallen trees.

The drive across the fens was gusty and there were bits of tree all over the roads. At one point a large box crossed the road in front of me. I saw several large trees down.

As I pulled up to the farm it was apparent that the trees that had come down were just a little further along our road. There were flashing blue lights and no traffic was passing either way. I struggled to open the car door and had to brace myself against the relentless wind. Two trees were down, one laying across the telephone wires and taking out part of the fence.

Venturing further onto the smallholding, things actually got better. A few bins, buckets and trestle tables were strewn around the place and one of the empty chicken coops had its roof ripped off, but apart form that we seem so far to have escaped.

As I write, we are all snuggled up in the living room. The winds are starting to die down and it is now dark outside. I have just seen on the news that a double-decker bus was blown over near Wisbech!

As Doris heads out into the North Sea, she leaves behind a battered landscape. If we can get through the next couple of hours, when north-westerly winds are due to rush into the vacuum she has left, I will be quite relieved to have gotten off lightly. We'll see what a morning survey of the farm brings.

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