Thursday 2 December 2021

Storm Arwen & Aftermath

Two days before Storm Arwen blasted in we went for a walk in the local woods. The air was chilly and calm. The woods peaceful; glowing gold in the low sun. A savage storm seemed far away.

The wind came during the night, soon followed by snow. I ventured out into the storm in the afternoon. Snow was driving across the fields and swirling in great clouds. The woods felt unsafe, sticks and cones falling, some hitting me on the head. Better the full force of the wind out in the fields. Better still after an hour or so back home and in front of the stove with a mug of hot chocolate. 

Then the power went. 4.40 in the afternoon, just dark. Neighbours rang. No, we hadn’t power either. Out came head torches, a lantern, gas stove. SSE said the power should be back on at 7pm. At 8 they said 10, at 10.30 they said 3 in the morning., at midnight noon. I went to bed. The power came back on after 16 hours. It seemed a long time. Five days later though and some people are still without electricity. That must be so difficult, especially if you don’t have all you need to survive reasonably comfortably without it. We have a solid fuel stove and an open fireplace and plenty of fuel. Our private water supply is gravity fed so electric pump, as many neighbours have for boreholes. And we have plenty of warm clothing and camping gear. As we are usually cut off by snow at least once in the winter we also keep well stocked up with food. “It’s like being in a bothy only with a comfortable bed”, commented my partner.

When the power returned, I discovered that my computer had reverted to April, with no record of anything since then. This was rather disconcerting. Rather slow at thinking it through it took me a while to realise that when I’d had a bigger hard drive added in April the old one had been left in as a backup. It was now doing that job.

Nothing I could do would make the recalcitrant new drive work. Conceding defeat, I took it to Baztex in Aviemore, which I’ve used for computer purchases and repairs for many years. Hooking it up to some complicated looking machine Barry found that the disk was 97% healthy, which didn’t sound bad to me. “Needs to be 100%”. Oh. The sick 3% must be the boot up sequence. Repair or replace? The computer was creaking with age and struggled to cope with the latest software. I ordered a new one. 

When not fighting the computer and losing I went out into the woods. They’d changed now. White and sparkling and laced with fallen trees and branches. A swathe had been cut through the trees parallel to our track. A different direction and they’d have fallen across it. Clearing them would have been a great deal of work. As it was, just one small tree had landed on the track and that was easily dragged aside. We were lucky.
The snow lasted two days and nights then the temperature rose, and it began to rain, heavily. The thaw was rapid. The ground turned soft and green and muddy. 
Less  than 24 hours later the temperature began to drop. Fresh snow appeared on the Cromdale Hills across Strathspey. After dark it began to fall here. Tomorrow the whole world may be white again.

Storm Arwen was just five days ago. It seems longer. Tomorrow I hope to collect my new computer. I know what I’ll call it.

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