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This was our silky oak—a big tree—part of the local canopy. A friend estimated its height to be thirty metres. Goodness knows how old it was. It was strong and healthy and sometimes I was annoyed by the amount of shadow it cast, or by the occasional dead branch it would drop.
Such annoyances are all a matter for memory now; on Wednesday night (2/2/2005) the silky oak came crashing to the ground.
What a tale of near misses! The house next door escaped by an arm's length—and the corner that was nearly hit was a bedroom where an elderly lady lay sleeping. No people were hurt or badly frightened, no animals were hurt, no significant property was damaged. We keep saying “If the wind had been blowing from a different direction...” Doesn't bear thinking about!
The saddest part is the fate of the timber. Silky oak is a very beautiful timber, once sought after by cabinet makers. No-one would want it now. It'll be pulped, or burned, or left to rot, while we all go out and buy particleboard furniture.
I'm sorry about the size of the pictures. The leaves make so much detail that it's almost impossible to compress the pictures more than I have done. I know it'll make them slow to see on dial-up.
This is the sight that greeted us on Thursday morning.
There'd been a lean-to between the silky oak and the shed; a place to park frequently used tools. It was pretty thoroughly rearranged! The tools in it, although I haven't been able to find all of them yet, seem to be mostly undamaged, as is the outside telephone—which did become unplugged—and a small glass fish tank that was standing on the ground.
The shed seems fine, but in a shelter against the fence was my wheelbarrow. So far we can just see a little bit of its blue tray. Doesn't look good!
My bottling jars were in there too. Oh well, the storm ruined the fruit, so what's to bottle?
No problems with the playground equipment; it was well out of the way. More important, no cats were wandering in the night. They're kept in for the sake of the local wildlife, but this proves that being inside is in their own interests as well.
We've been planning to get more chooks. Have just been a bit slow and cautious because we're not sure how to outwit the fox. Well, how lucky that we've been dragging our feet. Anything alive in there would've died of fright! What look to be young trees standing vertically and draped over the chook shed are in fact branches of the fallen tree.
The picture on the right shows how her front garden looks now. There are rose bushes under there—somewhere.
Here's that lady's front fence, viewed from the street behind us. The whole area that shows as sky in the last picture was only last week fully occupied by the now fallen tree. Some of the trees still standing have had foliage and branches stripped, too. Smaller ones were almost totally destroyed.
There are some pictures of our stormy skies, too.
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