Last month, during evening milking, the electric went off. This is a damned nuisance, especially given that at this time of year, it’s pretty much pitch dark. Even darker because it was a wet and windy evening. However before we managed to phone the electricity people to query gently when they expected service to return, it came back on again. So we promptly got on with life and put it down as ‘just one of those things.’ After all, we’re rural, electricity can come and go at times. It’s better than it used to be. You just make sure you know where the torches are. In the longer term we have an oil-fired Rayburn cooker that doesn’t depend on an electrical pump to work. In winter, we have an open fire, which uses a lot of logs and a little bit of coal. After all, the longest power cut I’ve experienced was six and a half days, which is an awful long time to be without warm food and heat.
But next day news began to filter in to us as to what had actually happened. A small tornado (there may well be a proper meteorological term for a bijou tornado-ette) had hit the island of Walney, cut across the south of the island and had headed for us. The first damage I could find was where it had run the length of one dike, tipping over hawthorn trees as it went. It then passed across a field and somehow missed one neighbour’s house. Instead it seems to have passed over another of our hedges, doing no damage. It then crossed a pretty large open area of the mosses where it may have gained speed and power, because it swung left and hit the front of another neighbour’s house. It put in two house windows and made a mess of a workshop before heading up through Furness. Finally it burnt itself out in the cemetery in Ulverston where it took down a lot of trees.
Looking at our toppled trees, my cunning plan is just to pull them back into the line of the hedge. This I’ll do gently so that I don’t put any more strain on the roots. Then I’ll hammer a fence post of two between the branches so it helps pin them in place. With any luck they’ll all survive.
And now we have Storm Ciara, which looks to be a bit rougher than the usual winter storm, but frankly not that much rougher round here. I think that the sheer weight of rain that came with it made it worse. That and the fact that it came in from the south and west just after the full moon so we had a higher tide than usual. This photo somebody took is the main road not far from our lane end.
At high tide it came over the wall and kept going.
A friend was travelling down one of the lanes and took a photo through the rain towards the sea. Even at two or more miles away you can see the waves breaking on the sea wall. Also note that there isn’t supposed to be a lake between the camera and the sea. Somewhere on the horizon there is supposed to be England. I suppose it’s still there.
But we’re lucky. When they decided to build a farm here, they picked a spot which was sheltered from the west (which is our main source of gales) and high enough up not to flood. There again, they were ignorant peasants, not wise and properly trained people like the members of planning committees. Still, eight hundred or so years ago we were too wise to have planning committees.
Still whatever the weather you can still snuggle up with a good book! Available in paperback or ebook
As a reviewer commented, “I always enjoy Jim’s farming stories, as he has a way of telling a tale that is entertaining but informative at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about sheep while reading this book, and always wondered how on earth a sheepdog learns to do what it does – but I know now that a new dog will learn from an old one. There were a few chuckles too, particularly at how Jim dealt with unwanted salespeople. There were a couple of shocks regarding how the price of cattle has decreased over the years, and also sadly how the number of UK dairy farms has dropped from 196,000 in 1950 to about 10,000 now.
Jim has spent his whole life farming and has acquired a wealth of knowledge, some of which he shares in this delightful book.”