Stormy weather

Storm Clouds

I’m writing this post for two reasons. Firstly, as my poor blog has suddenly encountered major problems – most of my dashboard buttons have completely disappeared, I can’t access any of my media files, have problems attaching tags, saving, and the widgets in my dashboard have decided to poke out from their home, obscuring anything underneath, and I’m not even remotely clued up enough to work out what’s gone wrong. So, I’m not even sure if I can post anymore, but here goes! The second reason, is just to share with my lovely visitors.

As Britain braces itself for one of the largest storms to hit us in a few years, the St Jude’s Day storm as it’s been named, with hurricane force winds, I find myself trying to ‘batten down the hatches’. The West Country where I live, is supposed to be hit first and hardest, as the winds get funnelled up the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, so we are watching the skies with some anxiety.

Despite this being easily the toughest year of my life, due to illness, I know I’m also a very lucky girl. Our garden, a beautiful oasis of two acres is such a delight, full of wildlife of every variety and a constantly changing palette of colours.English: Autumn Colours - Forest of Dean. Autu...

A previous owner many years ago, was an ornithologist, and his love of nature is the reason we have our beautiful pond, all our bird boxes from tiny blue tits to the huge nesting ravens and the wealth of bird and wildlife that we have. Herons, buzzards, kingfishers, wrens, pheasants, wild Mallard ducks, even a Mandarin duck that flies in from time to time, the moorhens that live and breed here all year round, Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, song thrushes, owls, gold finches, bull finches, the threatened tree and house sparrows, house martins, swifts and swallows, badgers, water voles, frogs, two species of dragonfly, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits, and a host of squirrels and other creatures.

Truly a marvel for any nature freak like me.

There is nothing better than watching a cloud of butterflies on a hot summer’s day, watching the Black Darters and emerald Emperor dragonflies skit over the water, or the elusive blue flash of the exotic looking kingfisher flying along the river that runs along one side of our garden, or the Green Woodpeckers with their grown up chicks busy on the lawn ‘anting’ (prodding their beaks into the soil to gather ants).English: Adult green woodpecker feeding a juve...

But within our garden are easily a hundred trees, small specimen trees like the acers, viburnum, crab-apple and hanker-chief tree, but also huge colossal monoliths, willows, white popular, oak, elm, spruce, firs, cherry, hornbeam, rowan, maple, lime and ash. And with large trees, comes the worry of them falling in high winds!

Already we’ve had our ‘go to tree guy’, a lovely rosy cheeked chap called, Nobby, yes that is his name, come over to have a look at the trees. We have at least three which are in trouble and may not make it through tonight, one rather closer to the house than I’m happy about. We may also have in one of our ash trees, that dreaded insidious disease, Ash Die-Back, that has threatened to wipe out ash trees across the country, much like Dutch Elm disease left most of our countryside bereft of elm trees.

So, apart from turning tables over and bringing in chairs, pots and anything that could become a flying missile in the next few hours, we have also been nervously watching the trees around us, as the winds continue to build and the power lines sway wildly outside.

All this uncertainty and chaos though, has me pondering. As we all know, the glorious shades of Autumn are also the opening overture for Winter, the winding down of things, the season of stillness and dark and a time of great thrift for nature after the bountiful feast of summer. The swallows have gone, the butterflies too, though I still see the odd one sipping drunkenly from the harvest of fallen apples. But for me, though the garden is a riot of colour and I do appreciate the breath-taking beauty of Autumn woodland walks, the changing colours are just a reminder of death, each tree trying to shed its mantle just to survive the dark months to come. Tree in Winter

Yes, there is magic in every season, in the snow and hoarfrosts of Winter, the beauty of a winter’s misty dawn above the fields, but I still mourn the sun and the hum of life that comes with it.

And so, as these high wild winds batter our windows, unsettling the dogs, I find myself not worrying about any damage to us, the house, the cars, the pergola. No, I find myself thinking about those poor trees, the ones that may not survive the onslaught tonight. Each one at least two hundred years old. How many winters, how storms have they endured? How many years have they stretched and thrived in our ever-variable climate? How many changes to the countryside around them? Roads, houses, hedgerows, where once only forest and brook remained. Storm damage, Sherwood Pines -

So, I for one am keeping my fingers crossed for the storms, that it doesn’t take too many of our nation’s trees, too many of our great leviathans as it did in the worst hurricanes of 1987 when even mighty thousand year old guardians fell in its wake.

Keep safe guys, and let me know how the storm has affected you.

😀 xx

Gathering storm

15 thoughts on “Stormy weather

  1. Ah…I now I can’t publish either without going through the quick edit update function, oh, and it’s knocked my title off and won’t let me put another one on. Any help welcomed!

  2. Lovely piece, Sophie. We lost power from about midday until about eight-thirty. Sadly, It’s come back on now. Stay safe.

  3. M T McGuire says:

    Very sorry I can’t help re wordpress but I really sympathise over the trees. As a kid, in my parents garden were two huge trees. A scotch pine and a silver birch. We lost the pine in the hurricane of 86 but I cam still hear the sound of the wind through the leaves.

    The birch was not your usual birch, this thing was lime shaped. As kids we played in it, under it and swung from the branches. It got honey fungus a couple of years ago which killed it and it had to be cut down. It was awful, like losing a pet.

    Here’s rooting for your trees, if you’ll excuse the pun. May they all make it.



    • Oh I love silver birch, we have a few, but one is particularly beautiful, isn’t there something special about them? But to have one lime shaped is lovely. You must have had great fun in it. That’s terrible about your two huge trees, especially trees that we grow up with as they always hold such significance for us, and when they fall, you’re right, it is like losing a pet.

      We had a lovely old eating apple tree in my family home, that I grew up climbing, swinging from and playing…and after over 40 years, it suddenly toppled over in high winds, leaving a terrible gaping whole behind.

      Thanks honey, keeping fingers and toes crossed, keep safe yourself, okay? 😀

  4. I’m sending lots of good thoughts across the pond. I hope all your trees survive the storm. Stay safe, Sophie.

  5. Andy Szpuk says:

    Have you tried looking through the forums? Scroll to the bottom of your dashboard and you should see a link to it there. You will be expected to ‘search’ for the issues you have and may even find a recent thread with similar problems. If not, you can then post your own enquiry, giving as much detail as possible and a link to you blog and you should get a Happiness Engineer on board to help you sort it out hopefully.

    Fingers crossed for a reasonably friendly storm 🙂

    • Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, I’ll give that a try tomorrow. I’ve wasted hours trying to get this silly thing to work and it just doesn’t. Cheers, Andy, you’re a star!

      Keep safe, hope things are calm where you are. 😀

  6. It’s so frustrating when technical stuff won’t co-operate! I’m sorry I can’t offer anything useful 😦 From where I am most of your widgets look okay if not a little spaced out! You’ve lost the AWB one though!
    We seemed to have missed the worst of the storm here, maybe because I’m a little further north than you.I had already lost a big old willow tree a couple of months ago, which was sad. I was most worried about my apple trees as they are very heavy with all their apples (which are far too high for me to pick!) but they seem to have survived okay. I hope all your trees are okay this morning too!

    • Thanks Linds, yeap I’ve taken Andy’s advice and have contacted the forums with the problem, so here’s hoping they can sort something out.

      SO glad you’re okay hon, hope there wasn’t any damage and all your animals are okay.

      It got very hairy here last night, hardly any sleep. One tree down, but luckily only a small one which fell harmlessly, the huge problem ones are still there. Yeah! Though I must say there is some awful creaking and cracking sounds coming from a few of them, so we’ll see. Most apples knocked off our tree, which is a shame, but really we were very lucky considering it sounded like a train outside my window! Others not so lucky, that poor poor girl in Kent, dear dear… 😦

  7. We escaped the worst in Surrey. Glad you’re all right and your beloved trees made it through the purge. And I hope you can solve the wordpress problems.

    • Thanks honey. SO relieved you’re okay sweetie. It’s been pretty horrible out there for everyone. Feel so sorry for the four people who died, so very sad. Keep safe and cuddle up in this awful weather. Oh, and thanks, still trying to sort the problems out, we’ll see.

  8. Andy Szpuk says:

    Did you get it sorted?

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