What a difference a week makes! Okay, so I’m currently cowering in the kitchen clutching a steaming cup of coffee having been frozen and drenched after venturing into the fields sans waterproofs on the dubious advice of the Met Office, but things are definitely improving weather wise. For example, on one day this week it didn’t even rain at all. And on those days where it did rain, there were definitely some parts of the day where I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t actually raining. And the relative dearth of Old Testament style flooding has had the most remarkable effect on the state of the land: it is now performing a passable impression of solid ground and one almost never has the feeling that one will disappear into it or be eaten by an Alligator or something on the way to work.
As an added bonus, the wind has also dropped significantly, so there hasn’t been any hysterical meteorological carnage here or abroad (everything on the other side of the gate) as far as I can tell. Although there are dozens of hi vis and hard hat clad chaps patrolling the river road, manfully attempting to prevent it from slipping into the river altogether. As far as I can tell, this mostly involves cutting down trees. Quite how a hard hat is the thing if you have the misfortune to fall into a river or are bonked on the head by an entire tree remains a mystery. I’ll consider it while I stare blankly at the temporary* traffic lights and let you know if I come up with anything.
*Given that that there have been temporary traffic lights on the lane for five years out of the seven that we have been here, when great chunks of it were not cascading into the river, presumably temporary in this case means that they will disappear between now and the heat death of the Universe.
I digress, I was just about to explain how I am personally responsible for saving the people of the South West from the ravages of dangerously high winds. I was waiting for the attendees of the first of our two meetings this week (I know, actual meetings, like a normal business person, but don’t worry, I attended both in my traditional homeless chic vineyard attire), when I had a phone call to say that they would be delayed. I thought that I would spend the time constructively by attending to the broken generator. A small amount of investigation revealed that it is broken in a manner that is relatively cheap to repair. Sensing that our luck was turning, I went to investigate a small problem on the second generator (that we use to keep the lights on when the renewable energy lets us down) and discovered a loose wire. Cost of repair: £0.
We were on a roll. I grabbed Lucy and we took the wind turbine down and attached a larger tail (that I had loving crafted from a sheet of plastic with a pair of scissors and some cable ties; it obviously looks extremely classy) and put it back up again. It turned into the wind and started to spin furiously, providing us with deliciously free* electricity. As we emerged from the power shed, having checked that everything was performing as it should, the wind dropped, the sun emerged from behind a cloud and we bathed in the most glorious sunshine and everything started to feel good in the world. The wind turbine obviously hasn’t moved an inch since, but if this is the fee for more spring days like this, I feel that taking one for the team is the appropriate action. In unrelated news, I have started lobbying Lucy for some more solar panels as these do actually work.
*I appreciate that the power isn’t actually free, it’s more a “No additional cost” sort of deal, but I have written off the initial outlay, treating it as a sort of charitable donation to the industry so they can spend it on developing a turbine that isn’t entirely useless.
It appears that our remaining chicken, veteran of fox attack and hurricane (and going by the name of Survivor) has decided that she is essentially immortal and is using her super chicken powers to go around being very brazen indeed. After last week’s storms accounted for 50% of our chickens, I have spent quite a lot of time in the last fortnight building the remaining half (that’ll be one then) a hen house so impervious to weather that it will assuredly still be standing when our own house is inevitably atomised by one of tropical Devon’s increasingly lively storms. John was helping me apply the, ahem, aesthetic finishing touches to it, specifically to make it look like it wasn’t fashioned from a design that never made it out of my head and onto paper. We were busy arguing about whether or not goats eat chickens, when I noticed that something was assaulting my watch.
From nowhere, Survivor had sneaked up on me and was hammering away at my wrist. To say that this was out of character is an epic understatement. When we had four chickens, Survivor rapidly found her way to the bottom of the food chain and appeared to spend most of the time being shunned and/or beaten up by the other chickens. When we introduced another chicken, it wasted absolutely no time at all in beating up poor old Survivor and monopolising the food dispenser. Worse, as she had been present – but pecking around on the periphery of the flock – when the others had been massacred by a fox, she was understandably extremely jumpy. The fact that our largest dog is sort of ginger and could, at a furtive glance, pass for a fox (albeit a dim witted and not at all cunning one) wasn’t helping her nerves either.
But ever since the untimely death of the resident bully, everything has changed. And that unhappy event isn’t just emboldening her to pick fights with me, apparently the hammer while it is in operation is fair game too. And I’m pretty sure that I even saw her squaring up to the ginger dog (albeit from the safety of the other side of the chicken wire) the other day. Whether our newly minted tyrant is able to continue her reign of terror or reverts to type once the four new birds that we are expecting to arrive at any time remains to be seen, but rest assured that I’ll be stood watching and taking notes instead of finishing the pruning.