Good Vibrations

A wintry morning at Ardivachar with snow on the hills.

It has suddenly gone quiet, the house has stopped creaking, groaning and shaking, the chimney has stopped rattling and the only noise is the gentle hum of the boiler, the swoosh of the dishwasher and the rumble of the washing machine. Radio 4 is back and I can listen dulcet tones of the Shipping Forecast announcer without speculating on whether it is going to be storm force 10 or violent storm force 11 for the Hebrides. The weather demons have departed leaving a trail of wreckage from Ness Point (northerly tip of Isle of Lewis) to Barra and beyond. We are now enjoying an icy blast from the north with wintry showers, but at last we have some sunshine.

I do not wish to experience such a prolonged period of storm force winds ever again and I’m not sure which sent my adrenal glands into hyperdrive, being hit by winds of 110 mph or watching the lightening strike outside the window. I hid under the duvet with my head below the pillows wondering if I’d be safer under the bed and concluded that even extra strength, double reinforced Hebridean Zen wasn’t going to calm my fears. It is not an experience I would recommend you to put on the “things to do before I die” list, as for anyone of a nervous disposition it may hasten the end. Fortunately the house and the cottage are undamaged, although the greenhouse and the polytunnel are a little battered. Plant evacuation plans were not on part of my extreme weather strategy, they are now!

Storm damage
I told you we needed more ventilation

The damage to the polytunnel looks serious, fortunately it only requires rebolting of some of the end struts and up to four new roof sections. We’re not sure how the polythene was torn, as it is so strong that you can walk on the roof! I had to rehouse some of the more tender overwintering plants, but everything else is still growing.

The cottage garden is on life support in intensive care and I hope the prognosis is not as bad as it appears. I won’t be able to assess the casualty figures until the spring, but previously I have always been surprised by the survival rate.  However, all this is fairly trivial, as some islanders have seriously damaged houses and outbuildings. Fortunately Hebrideans are resilient and although everyone looks tired and careworn, they still have time to stop and ask how you are before moaning about the weather.
I’d like to thank everyone who was kind enough to enquire as to our welfare and apologise for not reading and commenting on everyone’s posts, but I have been a little preoccupied and the electricity has been intermittent. However, I’m back, at least until the next storm and power cut.

17 thoughts on “Good Vibrations

  1. I have thought of you often over the past few weeks, as the tail ends of your stormy weather fronts were strong enough even down here in Bavaria! Glad to hear the house suffered no damage, and hope your nerves are recovering!

    • Thank you Cathy, I don’t tink we have the monopoly on extreme weather and it is amazing how quickly you recover when the sun comes out.

  2. The two pictures tell the full story of your (mostly) idyllic existence. I’ve always wanted to experience the full force of a storm, in a building that is solid as a rock. They certainly knew how to build them up there. I’m glad you are safely through the other side.

    • The big storms are exciting to watch and I’m OK up to 80 mph, after that I begin to get a bit twitchy, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else. We have extra building regulations here and you’re supposed to build to withstand winds of upto 120mph. I though the structural engineers has “over-engineered” our house, obviously not.

  3. Good to hear you got through the storms in one piece… even if your polytunnel wasn’t quite so lucky. Hope the garden has come through ok, and you’ve now had the worst of the winter weather.

    • I’m relieved that we had no serious damage and it is repairs and not a rebuild. We will probably have some more bad weather, but the really bad storms tend to in December/January. That is just life on an Atlantic Island, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

  4. I have been wondering how you have been up there in this wild weather. Glad to know you are ok, if a little battered. I love the phrase “Hebridean Zen”.

    • Thank you Elizabeth. The Hebridean Zen keeps me sane and give me the resilience I need to survive having my garden trashed by the weather again and again.

  5. I had been watching the forecasts and thinking of you up there, I can’t imagine 80mph let alone the speeds you have experienced. I get twitchy watching the trees from our kitchen window in 30mph winds. The icy blast has extended down here but not as cold as you have it, I hope the spring brings good news in your garden too.

    • Thank you Julie. It is chilly here, but not as cold as one the mainland, we tend to get sleet and hail down here on the coast. The spring a wonderful season and as the days lengthen the garden will slowly return to life. I’m amazed how many of the bulbs are still showing green shoots.

  6. Great to hear that you’re over the worst with no house or injury issues. We had a temporary pasting here last week,(probably a mere 50-60 mph,) but I shudder to think what a storm of that magnitude must feel like, even hunkered down inside. I swear that I can feel our old house move in violent winds, and I find sustained windy periods physically draining. But as you say, its amazing how restorative a day of sunshine can be after such sustained weather violence,
    Best wishes for a calmer few weeks ahead !

    • Thank you Julian, already planning ahead and looking forward to the spring.

  7. Glad you have survived the buffeting, despite having to suffer those head-under-the-duvet experiences. Interesting to hear about the additional building regs – says a lot, doesn’t it?! My Mum seems to have avoided the worst of the wind, presumably sheltered by Mull – but unusually had a sprinkling of snow – thanks for asking

    • Fortunately the weather doesn’t drive me to hide under the duvet too often!

  8. Thought of you often as Arran affords us some protection and the winds were frightening. Hope you get the poly tunnel and greenhouse repaired soon with few plant casualties! My neighbour lost a tree but that was about the most damage we sustained! 🌾⛄️

    • Fortunately we don’t have to worry about falling trees! You must have had quite a battering too, so I’m pleased your unscathed. We’re busy organising the repair work and I’m planning an orgy of seed sowing just incase I need to replace a lot of plants.

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