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The big blow

Today, everybody was talking about the storm (except any of the news sites, for some reason). There were rumors of a tornado. Certainly, the whole business started off very effing strange indeed.

It had been an unusually hot day for England and thunderstorms were predicted in the afternoon. Everyone who was outside agreed you could stand and watch the storm come. On the one side sun, and behind it roared a great fist of cloud. It hit with a sudden blast. I’ve never felt wind like it. It blew junk from the garden straight through the house. I had to lean my entire bodyweight against the front door to get it to shut and latch.

The extreme wind only lasted ten minutes or so, but there was a pretty good thunderstorm behind it blowing all night long. We lost power early on so we sat in the dark and drank wine. After which I slept through most of it.

I tried to get a picture of the approaching monster — the sun was going down and those first clouds were dyed orange, with an absolutely sharp edge because it was moving so damned fast. It was an amazing thing to see. Alas, that’s when I discovered I busted my camera when I dropped it earlier. By the time I fetched another camera, it just looked like a regular old thunder boomer, see above. And in color.

And that’s why no post yesterday.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 19, 2014, 9:48 pm

Somebody named Lisa Funnell uploaded a picture to Rye’s FaceBook page that does the storm justice. Check it out.

I wish I’d caught it 🙁

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: July 20, 2014, 12:07 am

Pretty wicked looking storm…looks like it’s still blowing east of you…you can see it on the live lightning tracking map:


…click on the ‘Europe’ link in the top left if it doesn’t take you there automatically.

Comment from gromulin
Time: July 20, 2014, 12:12 am

Looks like a Jack-O-Lantern

Comment from lauraw
Time: July 20, 2014, 12:59 am

Are the chickens OK??

Comment from Frit
Time: July 20, 2014, 1:50 am

Glad you all are safe and sound! (Including all your critters, I hope!)

That storm pic by Lisa Funnell looks like what the US weather people call a ‘supercell’ storm.

Also, you have an awesome house! 🙂

Comment from Deborah
Time: July 20, 2014, 3:47 am

Sure looks like a supercell to me. Glad y’all came through the storm ok.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 20, 2014, 7:24 am

The UK has more tornadoes per area than anywhere else. So sez Wiki. Of course they’re not usually anything that would get Dorothy excited.

Comment from Pablo
Time: July 20, 2014, 9:04 am

Jim Rockford has left the building and platypuss takes the dick!

Comment from AltBBrown
Time: July 20, 2014, 11:01 am

Neato pics!
When I see that kinda stuff, makes it easy for me to appreciate how early walking dudes could only imagine divinities as the source.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 20, 2014, 11:20 am

Yes, all the critters are fine. The cats weren’t fazed and the chicken house is tucked up in a sheltered corner of the hedge. Chooks slept through it.

There are willow branches *every*where. But, willows being willows, we hope the trees will recover.

Congrats, Platypuss. Poor old James Garner. I liked him. That was his schtick, wasn’t it? You liked him.

Dreadfully sorry for anyone waiting for dick…I’ve let myself get way behind again.

Comment from Deborah
Time: July 20, 2014, 1:18 pm

James Garner was my first “star” crush. Sigh.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 20, 2014, 3:33 pm

Thanks for the pointer, Frit. I’ve just read the Wikipedia article on supercells, and that certainly does sound like what we experienced.

Comment from MikeW
Time: July 20, 2014, 4:41 pm

Sounds like what ran through your ‘hood was a Derecho:

One hit here (in ol’ Virginny) back in ’12. Nasty bugger. I saw it coming on Weather Underground’s radar just before I went to bed. Truly wondered WTF??? There was a big vertical red stripe on the radar sweeping eastward. When it hit, the wind was truly hurricane force and the lightning seemed almost continuous. Wildest storm I think I’ve ever been through.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 20, 2014, 7:03 pm

I’m leaning toward supercell, MikeW. Looks like a derecho bows inwards. This thing was a great arc, like a spinning disk. And more than one person observed that the wind was coming from a different direction from the storm.

Still haven’t seen anything about it in the news.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: July 20, 2014, 10:30 pm

The storm reminds me of an ancient English poem I have always loved. Quoting from memory,
” Blow Western wind, when whilst thou blow,
And downe small rain canne rain.
Christ if my love were in my arms
and the roof on the house againe”.

Comment from Frit
Time: July 21, 2014, 2:11 am

Until I read your post, MikeW, I hadn’t thought about the difference between a ‘Supercell’ and a ‘Derecho’ storm, so I looked it up.


Apparently, the primary difference is that a Supercell is one large cloud component, round or kidney shaped, while a Derecho is a series of bow-wave fronts moving in the same direction. The front of the storm clouds can look similar in both cases; it’s the body that is different.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: July 21, 2014, 2:15 am

So, does a big wind rattle the slate?

And given the size and slope of that cool roof, who puts the slate there in the first place? What a roofline.

Good that the Global Warming demons passed you by!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 21, 2014, 1:24 pm

It’s Sussex peg tile, Tom. Terra cotta. They are slightly curved and, indeed, held on loosely by pegs. We were expecting the worst, but it doesn’t look like we’re missing any.

The very steep roof is the ancient part of the house. It’s shaped that way in part to collect rainwater (which it does — boy howdy!).

Comment from Nina
Time: July 21, 2014, 2:12 pm

I wouldn’t want to have to repair it, that’s for sure. How old is the roof?

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: July 21, 2014, 7:20 pm

Wow. So I had to google, and of course there are about 1.5 bazilion pix of the tiles. And dealers who apparently strip em off your roof when you’re not looking and sell them to others. Some adverts said “as old as 200 years”.

It seems amazing that none flew away, but that shows you that the old craftsmen knew “their onions”, as Brits say (at least on the PBS shows).

Comment from JC
Time: July 21, 2014, 10:26 pm

I must note the passing of Johnathan Dodgson Winter III, known as Johnny to his friends

Comment from JC
Time: July 21, 2014, 10:32 pm

Well fuck. Texas and the Indian Territories have taken a blow. Am I the only one to have seen Tommy Lee Jones as his look alike?

Comment from drew458
Time: July 21, 2014, 11:09 pm

The Mrs. says your house is to die for gorgeous.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 21, 2014, 11:15 pm

It’s very awesome, Drew, but ancient buildings have their…issues. Like neither of us can walk through the livingroom wearing shoes because the main housebeams are too low. And that’s not even taking into account Old Skullcrusher, the entryway beam.

And then there’s the wattle and daub in the stairway and the horsehair poking out of the plaster on the landing and the deathwatch beetle in Spring. Two Christmases running a rat has crawled under the floorboards in the master bedroom and croaked.

You have to love it to put up with it.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 21, 2014, 11:46 pm

We don’t really know, Nina. It’s a bit like the ‘Irishman’s broom’ – bits have been replaced so many times down the years.

Her Stoatliness has probably told the story but in case not, we had a specialist surveyor visit once (deathwatch beetle issues) and the Weasel sayeth unto him: ‘It’s amazing to think these beams are 400 or 500 year old!’

To which he sayeth unto her: ‘Oh, no, Dame Stoat! They were ancient when teh house was built! They are probably from a barn or a cart or a ship. They could be 1,000 years old.’

At which point even I started to get impressed.

So, the roof? Who knows? A builder cast his eye over it a year or so back and told me a repair could cost £30-40,000.

I required strong drink to recover.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 21, 2014, 11:49 pm

Last time we had some repairs, they found a roof tile with 1911 scratched in the back, so that’s something.

It’s probably been repaired many, many times. But it was never thatch, we’re told. We used to think it might have been.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: July 22, 2014, 12:27 am

And that’s not even taking into account Old Skullcrusher, the entryway beam.

Ah, some friends in Oley, PA have a house that is pre-war (as in American Revolution). Being 6’2″, I have had a run-in with such a beam. Or two. Ow.

Comment from Nina
Time: July 22, 2014, 1:43 am

I’m glad I’m short, then. 🙂

But yeah, those old houses are cool to live in…especially in winter. 🙂

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: July 22, 2014, 2:41 pm

If I don’t lose power, I like the odd thunderstorm. Comes from living in a place where the sun shines A LOT. A little cooler (if humid) grayness is a nice change from endless yellow sticky sunlight.

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