Some will remember the force of the winter gales which ripped across the country last winter, destroying vulnerable buildings and bringing down trees, before floods hit Somerset and made us front page news.
Our dear old African Hut, complete with new (heavy) roof was assailed by winds gusting up to 50 or 60 mph day after day. There seemed little respite and as the ground grew more sodden and less solid, the stakes driven into it began to lose strength. The wind grew fiercer and on one memorable night hit speeds of nearly 90mph along the coast.
There was no ignoring the fact that the Hut was not what ought to be. In fact, it was definitely eccentric. It aped Pisa. Looking from the road it had a very drunken appearance.
“We must get out there and rescue the Hut” became an oft-repeated anxiety – but the weather remained so extreme that only the addition of some guy ropes was possible.
Spring eventually crept through the storms, and the ravens and jackdaws began their assault on the thatch. As the land dried out, the hazel sticks used to make the hurdles for the walls dried out too – and became brittle, and broke.
“We must get out there…”
And we did! The worst hurdles were removed and extra stakes driven in to support the brushwood ‘cladding’. OV climbed up on chairs and as I heaved the posts upright, he hammered them six inches deeper into the drying ground. We weeded out some grass from around the edge of the Hut and I planted a variety of seeds. A neighbour brought us some sweet pea ‘plugs’ and they went in too.
Now the sun has done its work and the sweet peas are a picture – covering the weakened walls and looking (and smelling) wonderful. The birds have given the thatch a holiday from theft and the Hut is looking upright and quite perky.
It has become a delightful place to sit with a cup of coffee, shaded from the hot sun, wafted by cooling breezes and assailed by heady perfume.
Out of disaster has sprung forth delight.