25 years after the Great Storm of 1987: Housesitting in the dark!
I wonder what people remember of the Great Storm of 1987 exactly 25 years ago today. It was only a few months after Animal Aunts had launched and I was housesitting at one of my very first Clients, the Millers of Hyde Farm in Churt. This was one of my favourite jobs and the Clients went away for up to three months at a time which meant I really got to know the animals as if they were my own. The family consisted of two Labradors, five ponies, several hens and about 20 calves. The farmer who lived nearby looked after the big cattle.
It was a lovely, large old farmhouse, but cold and draughty so I lived in the kitchen next to the Aga when it was lit! 25 years ago today there were various reports of bad weather, but the warnings were nowhere near the reality! Winds roared at speeds of over 100mph and more than one and a half million trees crashed down in about 6 hours! To be quite honest, I slept through the worst of the storm, so was pretty surprised to wake up to no electricity and complete devastation all around me. Dustbins had flown right over to the other side of the house, trees had been flattened like matchsticks and the lane outside the house was completely blocked.
I checked and fed all the outside animals and apart from a lot of debris everywhere everyone was in one piece and none the worse for the nights storms. Later, I was due to visit to feed a couple of kittens in Grayshott and once the local farmer had cleared a tunnel under which you could just squeeze the car I headed off to Hindhead to find enormous trees on both sides of the main road had come down there was a tiny zig zag single track route cleared so I was able to edge through to Grayshott. I had to walk the last 100 yards to the house as Whitmore Vale was completely blocked. I fed the kittens, stayed with them for a while and made sure they were comfy, even though there was no electricity, then returned to my housesit to start clearing the debris around the farm.
The rest of the housesit was not easy, there was no electricity for the next two weeks, the AGA had not been lit on this occasion as the weather had been warm, ( so I cooked on a calor gas stove and snuggled up with the dogs in front of a log fire, listened to the radio and read books by candlelight. Dear old Michael Fish the weatherman has had some stick for his misforecast.. here’s a little reminder: