Candlelit supper anyone?

For those not living in the UK, the weather forecasters had been predicting a serious storm, St Jude,  to hit this country overnight, last night.  In the early hours of this morning, I woke suddenly and there was a huge crack and a dreadful noise coming from the direction of the woodland, I automatically thought of all my old trees and hoped they were all right.  With that, the light went out on the radio alarm and I knew that the electricity was now off, St Jude had arrived!   The first thing I did when getting up much later, was to go into the woodland and check on all my trees, they seemed fine, thank goodness, just small branches everywhere and a thick carpet of leaves covering everything.

After managing to do breakfast, toast made by holding it over a gas flame!,I then went to our nearest town for the morning. When returning at lunch time, I found the road closed just by  the far side of the woodland and men up one of our oaks wielding a chain saw. The whole of the crown of the oak was missing, apparently it had split and was hanging down dangerously over the road, it seemed ok when I had driven past it earlier. I was allowed through to drive home thank goodness, just further down the road, about 100yds away, another tall tree had fallen right across the road and onto cars parked there, so we were lucky. I then went into the woodland to talk to the men who were doing the work. They brought the trunk down to a level where it should be safe, but it looks rather strange, a thick trunk for about 30ft and then – nothing. The tree must be about 100 yrs old, not one of the oldest ones thank goodness.


We spent the afternoon clearing up the worst of the mess on the back lawn and in the woodland, and then started thinking about our evening meal. We still had no electricity but as we have a gas hob, that wasn’t  a problem, light was fading so out came the candles. I decided to make us a curry so that would warm us up a bit and I have to admit that eating by candlelight was rather nice for a change! Later we wondered how to fill our evening, no TV, no computers, candlelight too dim to read by, how did they manage in the “old days”? Thank goodness our daughter had given me a wind up radio to use in the greenhouse when busy sowing seeds and potting on. We settled down to listen to Classic FM,  when all of a sudden, we had light, we were back in the 21st Century again- alleluia!

Wind up radio

When my husband had rung the electricity board to see if they could give us an estimated time for the power coming back on, he was told in 3 more hours, they were only 3 minutes late which I think is pretty good.

I’m hoping the oak that has had a serious bit of pollarding, having lost all its crown, will survive and that the shock won’t be too much for it. Every cloud has a silver lining though, we now have a lot more light coming through in that part of the woodland which will be good for all the spring flowers on the woodland floor.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Candlelit supper anyone?

  1. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I hope your trees are OK – and the Oak. Glad you otherwise had no damage.

    Almost makes me want to get the candles out… haha. I will do for Hallowe’en. and of course Christmas. Although I know there’s no way I’d cope without at least charging my phone or my ipad. We’d have to like, talk to each other or something. Heaven forbid! heehee.

    Take so much for granted, don’t we?

    • Pauline says:

      We do take so much for granted Liz and it is brought home to us suddenly when we have a power cut and the phones are cut off. Having just watched a recording of Downton Abbey, what we need is an oil lamp or two!
      Hopefully, I think the rest of the trees are ok except for half their leaves being ripped off while still green, but I’m sure they will cope with that. We just have to be thankful it was no worse.

  2. Goodness, high drama, glad you are OK. What will you do with all that oak? I always find that moment when the lights suddenly switch back on rather disconcerting.

    • Pauline says:

      Thankfully , we have a wood burning stove Janet, so there won’t be a problem of what to do with it. We had the stove put in when we first moved here, for just such an occasion, as the central heating wouldn’t be working. We didn’t need to light it last night as it wasn’t cold enough, the curry and the candles kept us warm enough!

  3. Anna says:

    Oh Pauline so sorry to hear about the oak but relieved to hear that you are both ok. Hopefully the oak will respond to its unexpected hair cut and will reshoot come the spring. We were so fortunate here both in 1987 and last night, but I have vivid memories of coming home from work on the evening of 25th January 1990 and having to climb over a fallen tree to get indoors. That candlelit curry supper sounds romantic but hope that the next time is a planned occasion. Hope that it is much calmer tonight and that you sleep well.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Anna for your concern. I’m hoping the oak will sprout again next year, I just hope it hasn’t been too much of a shock for it. We were living in the NW in 1990, so missed both storms that hit down here. This morning everything is very calm, hardly a breath of wind, nothing is moving.

  4. debsgarden says:

    I am sorry to hear about your old oak, but I am glad there was not more serious damage. We heard about this storm on the news, and I thought about my UK blogging buddies. I remember visiting my grandmother as a small child. They had electricity but no TV. They did listen to radio, but their main form of entertainment after supper was storytelling! Everyone gathered around and then the yarns began. I still remember some of those stories, which were repeated often and became more fantastic with each telling, until it was hard to remember what was fact or fiction. As the saying goes, those were the good old days.

    • Pauline says:

      Deb, I wish I had thought of story telling, although what my husband would have thought of that idea, I don’t know! Everything is very calm this morning and having watched the news, we definitely were very lucky it was no worse. Some people have still not got any electricity this morning, in spite of the men working overnight. Times like this bring home to us all just how much we rely on electricity in this modern world, we always try to have alternatives in the house for such emergencies.

  5. Lyn says:

    I was thinking about all of you in the UK when I read about the storm coming. They were saying it might be as bad as 1987, but it seems not, thankfully. It is amazing to me, though, that your 100 year old oak is not one of your oldest!

    • Pauline says:

      Lots of trees came down Lyn, causing a lot of damage, but as you say, it wasn’t quite as bad as 1987 thank goodness. 4 people unfortunately died, trapped in cars or a caravan, so we feel we got off very lightly. I have a few oaks whose trunks are 3 times wider than the one that was cruelly pollarded so I think they must be 200/300 yrs old.

  6. Oh my, what a bad storm it must have been. I enjoyed reading your account of it and am so glad that you, your family, nor your home were hurt. Blessings, Natalie

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Natalie for your concern and good wishes, we certainly were lucky that the damage was no worse. This morning it is so calm, you wouldn’t think the weather had been so furious yesterday.

  7. Cathy says:

    Glad there wasn’t more serious damage. We’ve been lucky in southern Germany, with just some strong winds, but the north got the storm too. In past power cuts we’ve used our extremely bright storm lamps, causing a neighbour to ring us to ask why we had electricity and he didn’t! I think a power cut can make us appreciate all the gadgets we have for making life comfortable! Be careful when you go out into the woods Pauline – there are bound to be lots of loose branches waiting to crash down too.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, I think the storm went over to Denmark and then N. Germany after causing such damage over here. We have a storm lamp too, it was sitting beside the cooker while I was making the curry, but decided it was much nicer to eat by candle light! I will be careful Cathy, when I go into the woodland, don’t worry, but everything is so quiet and calm this morning, you would think yesterday never existed.

  8. catmint says:

    Sorry about the oak, Pauline, relieved it wasn’t worse. We’ve recently had horrendous bushfires in New South Wales, they have wreaked immense environmental damage.

    • Pauline says:

      It could have been so much worse Catmint, we got off very lightly compared to some people who had trees crashing onto their homes and unfortunately cars as they were driving along. We have been watching your bush fires on our news and our hearts go out to you all, such devastation to the trees, the wildlife as well as all the homes that have been lost. I think nature just likes to remind us now and then, who is boss!

  9. wellywoman says:

    Sorry to hear about the oak but pleased to hear it wasn’t worse. We went to bed expecting the worst and although we had a lot of rain and a flooded shed, there was barely any wind to speak of. Seems it didn’t make it as far north as they had thought. We recently had no hot water for 5 days. It is surprising how much we take these things for granted. I was fed up of having to boil the kettle and heat up pans of water. We even went swimming so we could use their showers!! Glad to hear you have power again. Lets hope the weather to come is more benign.

    • Pauline says:

      WW, I can’t imagine not having hot water for 5 days, no wonder you went swimming! Listening to the news we realise that we got off very lightly, some people still haven’t had their power restored yet. This morning it was so calm and sunny but now the wind has got up again and is bringing lots of showers and it sounded like hailstones in one shower.

  10. Wendy says:

    I’m glad to hear you kept safe in the storm, Pauline. I’m sorry about the oak. I never like to see a lovely old tree damaged by a storm – but as you say, it’s all part of a cycle of nature and more light will benefit the spring flowers.
    Power cuts are rotten, and they do plunge you back into another century, don’t they? I’m pleased your power was back on by the end of the day.

    • Pauline says:

      Wendy, at least our oak is still standing, the huge one down the road from us was right across the road and had to be cut up, that one had a much thicker trunk than ours, so must have been a good couple of hundred years old.
      Some people are still waiting for their power to be restored, poor things, but it does make you realise what we all take for granted these days.

  11. rusty duck says:

    That does sound bad Pauline, and very glad you’re OK. Couldn’t be a more different day today could it?

    • Pauline says:

      This morning Jessica, was so calm and sunny, it was unbelievable! Now the wind has got up again and we are having sun with lots of showers in between. Thanks for your concern.

  12. Christina says:

    I’m relieved that you are safe; the oak will hopefully recover, especially as it has been pollarded quickly not allowing any deseases in. We often have prolonded power cuts, I mentioned the one we had last week, but however often they occur, they are always daunting. everything is difficult or impossible to do without light. Let’s hope that was the worst this winter will have to offer.

    • Pauline says:

      The storm Christina, is now creating havoc over northern Europe, it seems to be getting stronger as it travels. It’s amazing how much we rely on electricity these days but we do try to have alternatives for most things when things go wrong. We will have to stock up on candles again, they were sadly depleted the other night.

  13. Cathy says:

    I’m glad your oak was the only casualty, Pauline, although as the other Cathy says watch out for any damaged branches if the wind gets up again – it has seemed almost unnaturally calm here since then, but how about with you in the SW? It will change so many things in your garden having lost the height on the oak and will take some getting used to, won’t it?

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, it was very sunny and calm this morning, I could hardly believe it. This afternoon the wind got up once more and we had lots of sharp showers again. I think losing the crown of the oak has only opened a small gap in the tree canopy, the trees either side of it, an older oak and a chestnut, both have full crowns and they must have all overlapped previously, so it is only a small patch of sky that we can see that wasn’t there before.

  14. Caro says:

    Sounds like you had the situation covered, Pauline, with your gas hob and wind up radio. Lucky it was only 3 hours loss of electricity, I’m guessing you have quite a bit of autumn harvest safely tucked away in your freezer! I’m always strangely disappointed when the lights come back on again, it’s quite nice to have enforced no tv/mod cons! A great shame about your oak tree, such a shock to realise how easily these venerable old trees are damaged. The flats where I live were undamaged, although I did think the window was going to cave in at one point! About half a mile away, a car was damaged when a tree fell on it but the veg patch garden was well protected by its surrounding walls and buildings.

    • Pauline says:

      Caro, we were lucky, we realise that since watching the news, but we were without electricity from the early hours of the morning until the evening. It was 3 hrs after we phoned that it was restored. We felt there was no point in phoning while the men were working beside the cables that were lying along the top of our hedge. The freezer is full, so we were hoping that nothing was thawing out while the electricity was off, we made sure we didn’t open the door. It was a huge tree that fell further down the road, strange how one tree falls when those around it are left. So glad you didn’t suffer any damage to your veg or the flats where you live, the storm seems to have created more havoc as it has swept over northern Europe.

  15. pbmgarden says:

    Glad you’re safe and sound Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, everything is fine here now. The storm moved over to northern Europe yesterday, leaving very calm and sunny weather here, with just the odd shower. The contrast in the two days was amazing, at least we were able to get all the tidying up done, leaves and branches were everywhere.

  16. Angie says:

    We never realise just how dependant we are do we? A shame about your oak tree – will be interesting reading the difference it makes to your garden. Others weren’t so lucky, which is sad.
    As a side note – the title of our blog reminded me of Hyacinth Bucket! I watched a rerun of Keeping up Appearances on TV this afternoon.

    • Pauline says:

      Angie, I had to laugh, I don’t think dear Hyacinth would dish up a plate of curry at her little candlelit suppers!
      So many huge trees came down with unfortunate consequences, one in the village here was huge, but just cars were damaged, so we feel we got off very lightly. The hole left in the canopy isn’t very large, trees on both sides have a full canopy, but I’m sure the spring bulbs will enjoy the sunlight which manages to come through for a few years.

  17. Gitte says:

    We had the storm after it visited you. Luckily our house lies protected for the wind, so we didn´t have any fallen trees. But many greenhouses got blown down. Ours held out. A good thing it was only one tree you lost.

    • Pauline says:

      Gitte, we heard on our news that the storm came over to you in Denmark and north Europe, causing a lot more damage on its way. I’m so glad that your lovely new greenhouse didn’t suffer any damage. We were lucky compared to a lot of people, just the top half of one tree, thank goodness, we now just hope that it sprouts again in the spring.

  18. Jayne says:

    I had not heard of this storm; sounds dreadful! So glad you are safe and sound. We had such bad storms last year – I know how awful the sound of a tree splitting and falling can be!

    • Pauline says:

      Jayne, it was pretty awful while it lasted, but all is calm now thank goodness. I found another small tree today which had lost a couple of branches, I can’t have noticed it when I checked round on Monday.

  19. I read a lot of posts about the storm coming but didn’t know how everyone fared. I read it was going to be like 1987. It seems you were spared that. We were hit by a microburst on our island in Maine and were without power, phones, and water for six days. The worst by far was the water.

    • Pauline says:

      Carolyn, it wasn’t as bad as 87, but even so, so many trees came down and unfortunately a few people died in cars that were crushed and one young lady in a caravan. I can’t imagine life without water on tap, that must have been dreadful.

  20. Glad to hear all is well with you. I thought about you, and The Patient Gardener, and all the beautiful places I visited in September, when I read about the storm.

    My husband and I have starting listening to music some evenings, rather than ignoring the television, and find it very enjoyable. But it’s no fun to loose electricity, especially if you’re cold or hungry. I will have to remember your toast trick the next time we have an ice storm.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts Marian, it’s nice to know that you were thinking of us. I love listening to music, but I’m trying to convert my husband who would prefer silence! Take care with your toast, it could so easily go up in flames!

  21. I have seen so many bad storms now it is not hard to dread the damage they may bring, it is hard not to fuss a bit about the older plants and trees hoping the stress of the storm will not break them…It does always amaze me though that when it has finally passed that gardeners just spring into action, they go and get out the tools and do what is necessary with an even greater appreciation of the beauty that is still there.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Charlie,hearing about others on the news, we realise we got off pretty lightly where the storm was concerned. The first thing I did next morning was to check on them all, just to make sure they had survived the night. So sad when an ancient giant topples over, they have seen so many changes around them, some of ours have been here for three or four hundred years so we really do appreciate them.

Comments are closed.