Stormy Days & Nights (And The Duke Of Medina) - February 2022

Britain is well know for its storms. They come in off the Atlantic and blow hard, sometimes extremely hard. An Atlantic storm finished the Spanish Armada off in the 16th Century. In 1987 another Atlantic Storm nearly finished my House off. Some called the 1987 storm a hurricane, wind speeds were certainly in excess of 100mph. All I know is that it blew my neighbours greenhouse into the garden next-door (not mine), smashing it to smithereens and, for good measure, blew quite a few of my roof tiles off. Felled trees blocked all roads, the power lines were down and our electricity supply was off for a good few hours. Ironically, it coincided with Black Monday when the stock market crashed in sympathy. Both weather and markets were in a whirlwind.

Fast forward to February 2022, smartphones and weather apps. It was with some trepidation that I watched the weather app on my iPhone go from a moderate breeze to a yellow warning, to an amber warning and then to red all over a few days. In the 16th century and in 1987, storms weren't categorised into yellow, amber or red warnings. Neither were they given innocuous names like Dudley or Franklin. Smart phones with weather apps were not available either. Imagine if they had been, would the Duke of Medina timed the sailing differently?

If he had timed it differently, would the outcome have been the same, or would Britain now be speaking Spanish?

Today we do get some warning of impending gales and this one was to be called storm Eunice. I ran to the allotment with timber in hand to prop-up my allotment neighbour's shed (he's giving up his plot due to health reasons) as I didn't want it blowing over and so cause an obstruction to the main path - it is quite prone to do that. Last time it blew over, it took some heavy muscle to put it upright again. Also, I tied my shed down, checked all netting, moved garden furniture, put the bird feeders in the garage and hoped it was all just a storm in a teacup.

Sadly, it wasn't a storm in a teacup. Not as bad as 1987 (can't comment on the 16th century one as I wasn't around at the time) but it still caused mayhem.

There was flooding, ridge tiles flying off, fences blowing down, trees falling all over the place and garden trampolines blocking railway lines (bet that didn't happen in the 16th century). On the allotment, the two sheds I was looking after stayed up and fought a hard and mighty battle against the wind. Unfortunately, others weren't quite as lucky. Many a greenhouse has been destroyed, sheds have been blown over and pulverised into matchwood, poly-tunnels have blown away to who knows where, just their twisted frames remain. As for my little part of England, the house and roof remained intact. Both of my greenhouses survived and live to fight another windy day. However, two fence posts are now leaning over and I will need to buy a couple of concrete spurs to repair them (see picture above). I have been very lucky and I am thankful that we didn't experience the wholesale destruction that some have.

Moving on, March is just around the corner, seeds need to be sown, potatoes planted and I am eagerly awaiting my onion delivery. Spring is nearly here.

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