International Rescue

The message I received on Thursday to tell me that the 40 foot plus conifers had suffered badly in the storm on Wednesday evening threw me into a panic.

After a lot of phone calls I eventually got through to the neighbour who advised me they had been uprooted but had miraculously missed the shed, the greenhouse and the house.

Relieved at the news that all of structures had been spared, we shot of after leaving work on Thursday evening very apprehensive as to what would greet us.

We arrived just past midnight, the night was still very stormy the rain was pouring down and the wind was whipping around ferociously.

We could instantly see the damage caused and stood in the driveway surveying the scene by car headlights, we were quite speechless at the sight and it just wasn’t sinking in.

We had originally been given the impression that all 3 trees had been uprooted, but after closer inspection we realised that the middle tree was still upright and I feared that any further rain and wind would topple it.

We went into the house but kept going back outside to look at it by torch light in total disbelief and we eventually through exhaustion dragged ourselves to bed at 3:30am.

We woke on Friday morning to another very stormy day, the weather was too bad for us to do anything so we had no choice but to stare at it all and hope that no more damage would be done.

It was a scene of devastation, one of the trees was leaning across the land and balancing on one of the other trees, another one was balancing on the hedgerow across the lane that leads to the farmers house, and in addition to this it had created an 8 foot tall grass cave with a pond underneath and the path had been ripped up and sunk into the ground like an earthquake had hit.

We simply had no idea how we were going to cope with trying to sort the problem so it was a huge relief when during the day the farmer and our other neighbour visited us to say that they would help us, we were so grateful for their offers and thanked them endlessly.

We spent the rest of the day moping around the house wondering if the weather would allow us all to tackle the problem on Saturday, so it was a huge relief to wake to a very sunny and very calm day.

We set off into the garden at first light with the chainsaw in hand and realised that the task was enormous, we had only been in the garden for a few minutes when the troops arrived ‘International Rescue’ style with chainsaws and heavy machinery to hand.

On chainsaws was the OH and Mike the electrician, on the heavy machinery was Robert the farmer.

Soon after we started Louise the electricians wife arrived with the two children Mathew and Sophie, who provided tea and refreshments and helped me to clear the endless stream of branches cut from the main trunks to another area in the garden so that they could continue cutting.

They were all absolute stars working with us until dusk ensuring that the main problems were tackled, we still have an awful lot of work to do to finish off and make the area half decent, and we expect this to take us a very, very, long time.

We are devastated that the garden is so badly affected, the drive is now a muddy bog and what was a very secluded and sheltered area now looks like it has been hit by a bombs.

The poor wildlife has lost a huge nesting and roosting site, along with all of the other numerous bugs and the like that utilised the trees, but we are so lucky in comparison to many other people that we have to thank our lucky stars.

We now have logs everywhere and we still have an awful lot of wood to cut and remove from the site…….2 sheds full, greenhouse full, carport partially full, I simply don’t know what to do with the stuff, and there is also a pile of branches approx. 15 foot wide in all  directions and 5 foot high.

I cannot thank our local helpers enough, I am truly proud to be amongst such a small local community that rallied together to help us in need and words cannot convey how thankful we are for their help.

I will be putting together a couple of hampers to show our gratitude but it simply doesn’t seem enough and I will always be eternally grateful for their help.

I will uploaded a few pictures of the initial devastation, the work in progress, and our local ‘International Rescue’ hero’s.

I hope you all are safe and well, and that the storms have not impacted you too much.

AliCat x

11 Responses

  1. Beanstew says:

    When one door closes, another opens – and although the garden may be very different from your initial imagining, you now have a wonderful opportunity to make an old Victorian stumpery, using some of the wood and a variety of ferns which can be very effective. Prince Charles has made one at Highgrove. And it will harbour just as much wildlife as the trees did in their original state. Another plus is that you have learned what wonderful neighbours you have, and that is a jewel beyond price.

  2. AliCat says:

    Hi Sheila, yes I had thought of a stumpery, we have a shady area to the other side of the house which would be ideal :good:

  3. Hayley says:

    I haven’t looked at the pictures yet Ali but you certainly paint a picture of what it was like here in your description. It’s good to know that when adversity strikes communities come together to help. :good: Fingers crossed you’ll now have some calmer weather to look forward to :rose:

  4. AliCat says:

    Hi Hayley, I hope we all get some good weather :yes:
    The pictures are a bit fuzzy due to camera phone.
    I now know what a wonderful bunch of people our neighbours are, if it were back in B’ham, we would have been on our own

  5. dixon says:

    Such a shame ali, :-( such shallow roots on conifers, at least you will have a blank canvas for that area, maybe some fruit trees? :unsure:

    • AliCat says:

      Hi Dixon, yes it was so wet the shallow roots didn’t stand a chance in the gale force winds.
      The farmer told me they went down slowly and gracefully, I am thinking of making a fruit area there, but it might be very acidic soil due to the conifers, I will have to test the soil.
      PS, I missed the postie due to having to dash off, but they left a card and the OH will go to post office tomorrow :good:

  6. mick1970 says:

    not good for the garden but great to know that you have a good group who will give you time and they will know you were grateful

  7. Veggiepatch says:

    Oh my life, just looked at the pictures, it looks horrendous and I am not surprised that you didn’t know where to start. It really is amazing how people rally around to help out and even making a welcome cuppa and a few sarni’s is always a welcome sight.

    A stumpary is a good idea, and you could consider re-planting native young trees to replace if you wish. My mum found a horse chestnut seed in the compost heap which had sprouted and so, with lots of encouragement from me we planted it into a pot and now have our own Horse chestnut tree growing in the back garden! (mum really didn’t want a horse chestnut tree in the garden.

    I hope you find a use for the wood, as a couple of suggestions would it be worth creating a small wildlife area for insects i.e. like an insect hotel (I know you have far more wood than you need for this), you could perhaps advertise on the roadside saying free firewood – come and collect and you may get rid of some that way and perhaps have a bit of a bonfire – invite the neighbors and have a bit of a party to say thank you to everyone who helped out clearing up the mess.

    You have my entire sympathy with this and I’m glad that the house wasn’t damaged by it.


  8. karenp says:

    What wonderful neighbours you have, a proper community too, having a stumpery sounds a brilliant idea especially with ferns and lovely for the little critters a new home :yes:

  9. shedsue says:

    Just catching up Alison..and grief, what a time you have had..soooo sorry at the damage and loss of trees but how heartening to have such wonderful neighbours .. and your spirit is an inspiration :rose: xx

    • AliCat says:

      Hi Sue :rose:
      I hope everything is going good for you, its been a long time since I have been able to catch up with you, I do hope things are getting better and you are managing to get some good lottie & garden time :heart:

Leave a Reply