Goodness me, what a night;
although unfortunately whilst it involved very little sleep, I cannot say it was much fun! The dreaded gales of which we had been ominously warned, finally whipped up with increasingly malevolent fury; & by nightfall, things were decidedly scary. I even brought Nanuk indoors, concerned we might have a repeat performance of the previous week when the roof blew clean off her kennel (with potentially disastrous consequences). I know that it isn’t the ‘done thing’ to force a Spitz breed to even briefly stay indoors when the temperature in the house is markedly higher whilst outside it’s refreshingly cold; however, unfortunately on this occasion I had no choice – as with Tony away, I was even more vulnerable. And without his reassuring warmth to snuggle up to it was more comforting to stay awake & work on cheese & ice cream recipes, than to just remain wakeful in the pitch darkness; otherwise just listening to the wind roaring like a lion around the house, moaning through the trees in the valley, rattling the tiles on the roof & screaming down the chimney as if the very devil himself was trying to get in. Several times I even tentatively flicked the switch to illuminate the Arrivals Yard concerned at the thumps, bangs & blusters which mercilessly buffeted our little Ffarmhouse. However, with walls several feet thick & nestled into the side of the hill, this place was built to last; & we weathered the storm thankfully unscathed (well, Ffarm Fach has stood here since at least the seventeenth century; therefore I’m sure a few gusts of wind could huff & puff but not blow THIS house down!).
Dawn; & after an hour or so of playful buffeting the storm had temporarily exhausted itself, a few gusts of wind still sighing over the devastation earlier caused. I then tentatively ventured outside, anxious to assess the extent of the damage to which we’d been subjected; thankfully, it proved not nearly so much as I’d anticipated. Major sections of trellis in the veg garden had been beaten to the ground leaving the garden tap hanging on by literally a thread; but amazigly no worse than that, as the hothouse & greenhouse which are sheltered by the stout hazel hedge to the west, had mercifully survived unscathed.
In fact the worst of the damage had been inflicted on the roof of the Long Barn as a segment of the metal sheeting had been loosened by the storm & was now shifting with a clanging, flapping urgency at each dangerous breath of wind. Ordinarily I would have resigned myself to losing that particular roof panel & simply replaced it, as soon as possible; however, as the Law of Sod dictated that the panel which had worked loose was directly adjacent to the above-ground electrical cable which feeds the Ffarmyards their power: ergo no cable, no electricity – thus no light, no heat, no milking machine….oooerr!! I don’t think I have ever felt so unpleasantly vulnerable, as when the realisation dawned that if those threatened next-evening gales arrived again that evening, I would be doing all the milking forthwith by torchlight – & by hand; not a pleasant prospect, having damaged my elbow recently & still trying to persuade it to heal.
Meanwhile I nonetheless had an unforgivingly busy day ahead: including a hurried trip to Newcastle Emlyn for business & shopping; then a dash across country to visit Whitland Engineering to present Tony’s updated plans for our Dairy Complex; after which I had to travel to our butchers’ in Haverfordwest, to collect not only the sausages I should have been given, a couple of weeks ago; but also to have the bacon which has (inadvertently) been curing in our Cold Room, cut up. I left the chunky, heavy, cured pork loins & hams off at Welsh Hook’s butchery department before thankfully catching up with poor Tony; who was enduring an exhausting, short-haul day’s flying from Amsterdam to Heathrow (twice) after being flown to Glasgow for the next leg of his duty – the only non-resident crew member, so anticipating a lonely night in his hotel to catch up on some aviation procedural revision alongg with some much-needed kip, coffee & food (without having to suffer the usual short-haul in-flight indigestion).
Bless ‘im; as my mobile telephone was dangerously short of power he immediately galvanised himself to get in touch with our friends & neighbours Kev & John (who also happen to run a building/decorating company), to advise them of my plight: & like knights in shining armour, they galloped to the rescue & in my absecnce battened down the errant hatch so that I could enjoy a trouble-free (albeit, achingly lonely) night with only the wind as my friend.
After continuing with family/friends’ Christmas shopping including a trip to Haverforwest’s local Farmers’ Co-Op (getting inadvertently caught, battered & soaked by one of the most violent hailstorms I’ve ever had the misfortune to endure) I collected our gammon, bacon & sausages to endure the long, bumpy, windy & now wet journey home – so I could again enjoy the prospect of a fulfillingly long evening with the standard routines of milking & the animals’ “bedtime” chores; as well as sorting out a couple of hundred kilogrammes of meat, presents, grocery shopping etc….but hey! At least I am my own Boss (well, if you don’t count Tony…..!!). But bringing home our bacon, under such literally trying circumstances, has to be one of the most satisfying things ever to be done.