Saturday, 15 February 2014

Stormy weather

Until last night the part of London where we live had not been affected by the recent stormy weather that has been doing so much damage in the western and coastal areas of the UK. My wife and I knew that this situation was likely to change overnight as the weather forecasters had predicted wind speeds in the 25mph to 35mph range, with gust of up to 50mph at times.

It was therefore no surprise when we awoke this morning to discover that some damage has occurred during the night. One of our garden dustbins was on the driveway, having been blown over the side fence from our back garden. The wooden side gate into our back garden was open, and the bolt and catch that hold it in place proved not to be strong enough to keep it shut in the prevailing wind. (I tried bolting the gate ... but the wind flexed the gate so much that the bolt just popped out of its hole.) An old Christmas tree that I planted many years ago is now at a very odd angle, and it would appear that its roots have become loose due to the recent heavy rain.

The worst damage has been done to our wooden fence. Several of the panels are coming loose, and one of the posts appears to have broken at the point where it goes into the soil. This probably happened when one of our neighbour's fence panels hit it ... just before it flew across our garden and landed in the middle of our lawn! I have managed to move this errant fence panel into a position alongside the garden shed that is sheltered from the worst of the wind ... but getting it there was 'interesting'! (The wind is still quite strong, and trying to pick up and move a 6' x 6' wooden fence panel was quite difficult. Moving it can be likened to trying to trying to dance around a dance floor with one's large maiden aunt when both of you want to go in different directions at the same time and both of you want to lead. Difficult ... but not impossible!)

I will need to do some repairs once the weather improves ... which will probably be in a few day's time. In the meantime I intend to stay indoors and keep warm.

A brief aside: Due to the flooding that has taken place in various parts of the UK recently, the topic of unsolicited cold-calls has changed. No longer do we get asked if we have claimed for PPI compensation or whether we have had an accident recently; now we get asked if we have adequate flood insurance. In answer to one of these calls my wife said that we did not need it. The caller was most insistent that we should have flood insurance, to which my wife replied something along the lines that if we needed flood insurance, then she hoped that a second Ark had been built.

We live 300' above sea level on top of one of the highest points around London.


  1. Off to check on my parents in laws house at Staines today. They were evacuated by the Royal Engineers on Monday.

    Getting really sick of this weather!

  2. Legatus Hedlius,

    I hope that things are not too bad when you get to Staines. At least your parents-in-law are safe, even if their home and possessions are not.

    Good luck,


  3. I do hope that is high enough then!

    Mother Nature does love to test us as well as nurture us.

    Hopefully she'll give you a break soon.

  4. Ross Mac,

    If it isn't high enough then we are all doomed!

    Here's hoping that the weather in the northen hemisphere will improve in the very near future.

    All the best,


  5. If we ever get flooded, end of story - our house is either on or just below sea level and it means the whole of Fenland is under!

    Apart from bins going over, sole casualty has been an old unused tv ariel that felt down - it kept us awake all night, swinging on it's lead and banging against the wall, but I wasn't going out to cut it down! Sorted now.

  6. Xaltotun of Python,

    The whole of the Fenland area is in danger every time that there is an extreme high tide and a major storm surge in the a North Sea ... and yet that seems to be unremarked by anyone who does not know the area. As a reasonably frequent visitor to West Norfolk, I have seen how close the area comes to flooding on occasions.

    I am glad to hear that the effects of the storm on your home were not too bad. It could have been a lot worse.

    All the best,


  7. Large tree down in neighbours garden. At least the wind was from the South, from the West and it would have taken out our garage.

    We've only recently finished clearing up and redecorating after a water leak (caused by the cat..) but at least that was clean water. I really feel for those where the whole drainage system is flooded and you dread to think what's going through your house.

  8. Nigel Drury,

    The wind direction has a great bearing on the amount of damage caused and the temperature of one's house.

    We are used to the back of our house (which faces south-west) being cold during periods of high wind. Over recent weeks this has been the norm. The amount of damage has been surprisingly light, but I think that that is mainly due to the shelter offered by the top of Shooters Hill.

    Like you I feel very sorry for those whose homes have been flooded not just by river water but also by sewerage. As you write, a clean water flood is bad enough ... but what has happened in various parts of the country is far worse.

    All the best,



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