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We had ample warning of the “St. Judes” storm, unlike the storm of 1987, where poor Michael Fish carved a name for himself in history by assuring us that warnings of a great storm were greatly exaggerated!
We were living in Kent at the time and amongst the first to be affected by the storm. I remember being woken by the sound of a crash as a large lilac tree in our garden was torn out and hurled down the garden. I was not too upset to see it go as it had flowered very shyly and seemed to put all its energy into putting up suckers, which drove me mad!
Next morning it was still pretty windy and broken branches, dustbins, tiles and other detritous blew around the road.
Our road was lined by large cherry trees which were, fortunately, still standing.
JW drove an Austin 7 at the time so was able to take Jennie to school(and back when he found it closed) and then to work, as the little car could drive around the fallen trees etc. far more easily than the large modern cars!
The local builder was kept busy moving from house to house fixing tiles back on (he must have made a fortune that day)
Sevenoaks, down the road from us, lost five of the oaks from which it got its name. I had not realised quite how deep some of those roots went until I saw the huge craters left behind.
We also experienced another big storm a few years later when we had moved to Wales. JW and I set out on a wet and windy morning for a day of shopping and lunch out in our nearest town, Aberystwyth.
JW complained because we could not get a parking space on the promenade and had to park on one of the back street parks.
We had a delicious meal at the Inn on the Pier, but when they brought the coffee we thought the table was unstable as the coffee slopped into the saucers, then realised that it was not the table moving but the pier!
The wind had increased so much when we stepped outside that we were immediately blown back inside!
After waiting for a short gap in the gusts we managed to stagger across to the road opposite. My hopes of shopping were dashed when I found there was a power cut and none of the electronic tills were working.
We were pleased to see that the car was undamaged in its back street, unlike those on the promenade which had been covered in sand and stones.
We were lucky enough when we arrived home to find we had suffered no damage to the house or outbuildings, and the polytunnel and fruit cage were still standing. We had a power cut and the water was off, but that was the usual result of the slightest wind and we were always prepared with candles and water carriers and jugs!
This time we had plenty of warning so JW and I put away loose pots, garden furniture etc. on Saturday afternoon and hoped for the best.
On Sunday we had some very heavy showers, and the forecasts for the storm moved from arriving in mid Wales to sweeping up the Bristol Channel (minutes away from us)
Around midnight there was a heavy downpour and then nothing. I looked out about 1.30am and was amazed to see hardly any movement in the trees, decided that this was “the calm before the storm”
To my surprise I slept soundly and looked out, rather fearfully, to see how much devastation there was……nothing! even the apples still hung on a neighbour’s tree……The storm had passed us by 🙂