The Answer My Friend

The St Jude wind, Stromageddon, the hurricane, ‘Orrible October, the gale. We’ve had them all over the past forty eight hours and, thank God, we seem to have come off relatively unscathed from the winds blowing in from the Atlantic this week. Or so I thought.

On Monday morning, in the wee small hours, I was aware of the wind battering my bedroom windows and the odd sound of dustbins being blown over, but nothing else. I slept through most of it, got up and opened the curtains, then shrugged. It didn’t look too bad. Just leaves and a few twigs lying on the lawn. Soon have that tidied up.

Then I switched on TV and found that some people had been killed, trains had been cancelled because of trees on the line, hundreds of thousands of people were without power, someone had been swept out to sea, and no one could get to work. Britain had rallied round and gone in to emergency survival mode, and I had missed it. We had just been lucky.

Bit by bit I realised just how lucky we actually had been as the day wore on. As I drove off yesterday, I noticed my elderly neighbour wouldn’t be able to get out of her house as a tree in her front garden had blown down, blocking her driveway. You can see the problem below.

I rang the bell to see if I could help but there was no answer, the lady probably taking the sensible route and staying in bed.

As I drove on I noticed the house next to that had a similar problem, and others in the street had large branches on the roof and pathways. We had cut back our trees three months ago, so that may have helped us.

But this morning I noticed that the very large oak tree that overhangs our garden from next door had changed shape. It’s difficult for anyone else to see a difference but the tree is now lopsided, with one side having come down in our neighbour’s garden. This is a huge tree so I can only imagine the devastation caused to his shed and lawn by tons of branches falling during the night.

I’ve put a photo below and the tree now looks like my haircut at school when I tried a razor on it in sixth form. One half is fine, the other is bare, and I think it may take longer for the tree to even itself up than it did for my head way back then. Only the tree won’t be feeling like it wants to hide for six months and avoid girls.

So, we were very lucky. Not only did our area escape the worst – no crushed cars or injuries – but our own house and garden fared better than the neighbours. Just lucky.

If you suffered then you have my commiserations, and I hope all is cleared up soon. Meantime I have to organise a tree cutter to get rid of that lady’s problem in her driveway. Any enterprising person with an axe want to earn a few bob?