It’s the gales again: 2am now and winds have been battering the island since lunchtime yesterday. I didn’t think to put the buckets out before I came to bed, so I had to go back downstairs when I heard the pings of drips hitting the (permanently stationed) metal bucket on the stairs. I couldn’t work out the exact positioning needed, so I just lined up as many containers as I could find along the south facing (Atlantic-whipped) wall of the kitchen.
Listening now, I don’t think it’s a particularly wet storm, but even so the wind tends to drive the rain in. It’s more comfortable in the bedroom, despite the lower temperature, because the draughts downstairs are like knives. In fact, even with the stove, it was uncomfortably cold in the kitchen yesterday. I had it burning all afternoon, but a potato I tried to bake in it was still hard by dinner time, so I had to do without. I was in bed by 8am to escape the discomfort of creeping cold.
Mara has a box full of bits of bubble-wrap to play in, and she tends to favour it as a hiding place and, I’m guessing she’ll use it as an insulated bed. Her other preference is for the sheepskin on the dining chair. I’ve brought all the deer furs into the kitchen now since they were getting damp in the unused room.
The conditions make me fret about Mara because the wind is so intrusive tonight. But it’s been a background sound to many a day and night already, so I’m hoping she’s accustomed by now. I tend to sleep through most of the crashes and rattles if I know that I’ve done what I can to secure things – most importantly the front door which lacks a latch as yet. I use large, heavy tree-stump logs against it.
But this morning something must have crashed with a less than usual sound and broken through my sleep. I’ll have to wait for daylight to see what it was. So I picked up my bedside book (‘Atlantic Fury’ by Hammond Innes, set in the seas of the Hebrides) so as to find a narrative to accompany the sound-scape and pass the night-time hours.
This time, though, I can’t concentrate on it, so I’m writing instead. It’d be quite something to have people to talk to – quite special.
The wind has just stepped-up a gear and now I can tell that this is the strongest I’ve experienced here to date. The sounds are different. In one register they are distinctly shrill, and in the other as thunderously deep to physically clout me – even in my bed. The island feels solid though, and the house feels part of it to me. I don’t get the feel of Dorothy, about to be born-off in the winds, but more of a feeling of becoming rooted in the ground. Although the house crashes and creeks and thumps, and the sash windows flex and rattle, it’s solid.
I can’t imagine being outside, though, and I worry for anything or anybody that is. I hope ‘Ship-Ahoy’ is hunkered down safe. I’m mulling over the likelihood of the quad bike , deft little machine, being thrown up on a gust, but I’ve no idea what kind of wind speeds could do something like that, nor if we’re likely to reach them. I don’t suppose so, but night-time is a vast mind-scape of things that are impossible in the day. Speaking of which, I think I hear Mara mewing through the deafening onslaught, but then I can also hear voices calling too! I’m torn about going downstairs, but reluctant to set a nocturnal precedent for human attention. I remember Percy-cat’s excessive demands on that score, and the sleepless nights inflicted on at least two generations of the family.
Mara’s personality seemed to change yesterday. She was less cuddly and more assertively curious. For the first time she got herself onto the kitchen window ledge, and was fascinated by the sights. Her horizons are on the march.
Whilst we looked out of the window a stag crossed a few feet in front of us, and looked about confusedly, then leapt the fence and away. He was followed in succession by ten more, all choosing his route rather than using the open farm gate. As of last week there’s a new fence between our house and Rhoda’s next door. From now on they’ll probably always ignore the gateway and opt for leaping instead.
It was quite an amusing sight. I felt like the old man with the chair in the Pink Panther film, watching gorillas in cars and a pantomime horse passing him in purposeful confusion. It seemed very seasonal (Christmas-like), as well as surreal, to have the spectacle of deer performing in front of myself and the cat.
It’s now 7am and I’m sitting typing-up my notes. The front
door just burst open, pushing the stumps aside, and the force of
pressure hit my eardrums hard. I’m still waiting for them to feel normal
again, and waiting for daybreak so that I can see what’s hit us.