I've just lit the wood burner in the caravan which is now full of smoke due to an ill-timed gust of wind. And, truth be told, this blustery weather is getting to me.
Last Sunday evening, the cat and I spent the night on the sofa bed in the main house in preparation for the storm that completely missed us. I awoke on Monday morning with a slightly sore back, some interesting insect bites and a grumpy feline friend who was annoyed at being kept in all night.
Thankfully, the expected destruction hadn't arrived and all of our trees and buildings were pretty much as they were the night before, with only our red acer looking a whole lot more naked than it had been, having had most of its beautiful red leaves blown away.
Fast-forward to Saturday, and after a few calm days, the forecast was once again for gales. With 40 adults and children scheduled to join me in the woods at the Wild Place Project for a day of family firelighting, I was concerned as this is the only weather that makes the woods a dangerous place to be. Thankfully, the scheduled midday tempest arrived three hours late and gusts of 46 mph prompted the evacuation of the woods (for only the second time ever, the first being due to a swarm of hornets last summer). The rain began just as the last guests said goodbye and I left with the feeling that perhaps the weather was on my side.
An hour later, after a long detour in lashing rain due to the closure of the Severn Crossing and a gusty drive along the M4, I wasn't so sure. Once home, I managed to get the burner going quickly and Princess Pea seemed to be a cosy place to watch a film before a well-earned sleep.
The wind had other ideas.
I've mentioned before that listening to the movement of the trees can foretell a change in the weather and how loud it can sound when inside a caravan. When it's windy, the clamour is particularly pronounced. The dull roar of the constant wind somewhat resembles an aeroplane, a low-pitched, continual rumble. The Doppler effect of each gust can be heard before it arrives as it crashes through adjacent treetops, increasing in volume and frequency until it hits with a crashing crescendo, shaking the caravan and then dying down only to be repeated moments later. As Princess Pea is in a fairly sheltered spot, not all of the gusts hit their mark and quite often I found myself getting ready for the impact only for it to wail past the window, heading on to other targets.
Sleep isn't easy in a caravan that is violently shaken at irregular moments and when I finally opened my eyes for the last time this morning, I couldn't help feeling a little bit grumpy. The wind was still howling and shaking and my heart sank at the thought of another 24 hours of tempestuous weather, particularly as the ivy has grown sufficiently to recommence tapping against my window.
As I write, there is a gentle breeze and the forecast is calm for the rest of the day but gusty overnight. Will I ever become used to the sounds and shaking of the wind or will I occasionally be sleep-deprived and slightly grumpy? Time will tell, but for now, I'm enjoying the calm before yet another storm.