A van a man and a storm
Battered but not beaten
Continuing on from my last post: – The peace and quiet of the countryside was amazing over the following nights.
Hearing the owls, and a pheasant who decided that it was very nice to be able to live under the caravan, at night. The wonderful clear sky at night to look at the stars.
But little did we know that our peace was to be shattered when on the night of February 4th a terrible storm of 80+mph winds and horizontal rain struck.
The story is now taken up by the man.
My fan had gone away to spend the night with our grandchildren.
Arriving back at the site at 8pm I was greeted with horizontal heavy rain, 3 deg C air temp., winds of 80+mph and heavier gusts.
Getting a view of the van site, I could see the storm strap had slipped and was loose, and part of the awning frame was starting to malfunction.
After a futile attempt to stop things getting worse I called the caravan site owner for help, but he was out of the area that night, but promised to see if his wife could assist.
In the 10 minutes it took her to get there I was lifted up into the air by a tremendous gust of wind, and the awning collapsed against the caravan.
My hands had lost all feeling and I was drenched. Somehow I managed to open the caravan door – under the press of the wind on the awning – and catch my breath.
Cold and wet, suffering from exposure – bet your socks I was.
Assistance appeared and while site owner’s wife hauled on the awning, I tossed non-waterproof items into the van.
Next task was to remove the awning from the van, and when we reached the 3/4 mark of removing the awning a big gust threw the remainder of of the awning over the roof of the van. Very dangerous. Awning almost down, it was locked down on the ground with weights, and I felt we were getting things under control.
The offer to take the soaked clothing to get things dry was most gratefully received.
My fan arrived back the next morning, just as the handyman for the site owner and I were taking the surplus materials over to the barn that bordered the caravan site. Wind still blowing hard but not nearly as bad as the night gone. So much to clean up and sort out. My fan was left to manage as best she could and I went off to work.
Our problem was then to replace broken and bent frame poles and to repair a tear in an awning window.
The tear was straightforward but the poles were another issue. It is now 6 weeks since the incident but we are still trying to get replacements. More on this issue of replacement to follow.
My fan continues the story:
The following morning bought a slightly better day … well at least it wasn’t blowing so you couldn’t stand up and
the best thing was it happened to be The Man’s 70th birthday …. shows you what good shape he is in !!!!
With the help of the farmers handyman we managed to move a lot of the things that had been stored in the awning into one of
their barns to dry out and assess the damage done to the awning and poles. Also to sort out the things that had been deposited into the caravan in the dead of night. After a day of cleaning and sorting it started to take shape and didn’t look quite as desperate as it had clearly been the night before.
With the help of the farmers wife we had washed and dried clothes and dried out wellies and shoes. It always amazes me how generous people can be.
… but then you only have to venture from where we are down into the village to see the signs of people doing it hard with water up to their front doors and with all the pumping going on where water has entered the houses as well.
After several days of constant rain the road in is only passable if you are driving a 4×4 and the streams never seem to drop in level …
I judge this by one of the bridges, and the water level is always right at the very top. While the ground stays very wet under foot and the grass is now a very yellow shade of green, things have to improve. We have had one other night when we had winds blowing from the South West probably around 60mph where we felt the caravan rocking and even the dogs were not too happy either.
We spent the last weekend sorting out the awning and trying to work out the various poles we should have but the diagram didn’t seem to correspond with a lot of the poles we had. Seems like we either have extra poles or a diagram for a different awning. We packaged it all up into the car and drove back to the caravan shop we bought it from and with some persuading managed to get the manager to come and sort out what we have and what we need. In the end we packed
it all up again with a new set of diagrams and a promise of some replacement poles …. that are yet to arrive, but
eventually we may get the awning erected. I am not holding my breath but hopefully within the next 3 weeks we may get it up again but we are definitely keeping an eye on the weather and will have it down and packed should we have a return of the extreme gale force winds.
The saga continues in the following posts….