Sunday, May 22, 2016


At 9.30 on Friday night as lightning filled the sky, our power went off. It happens more out here in the country than it did when we lived in town, but is usually fixed within an hour or two. We retired to bed, and having had a long day driving to Auckland and back, promptly fell asleep. About 12.30 we were woken by banging on our bedroom window, and a voice calling, "Wake up! We need help!"

Mac's sister, Pat, and partner, Colin, (both in their 70s) had been woken by their cat wanting to go outside, and when Colin opened the door, it was to the sight of debris, including roof tiles,  all over the lawn, and an uprooted tree! We dressed hurriedly and followed them back to their place a little further down our road.  It was quickly apparent that a tornado had been through. After a quick evaluation, we decided that there was nothing we could do, and Mac went home to call 111. The local volunteer fire brigade arrived from Raglan very quickly, and so began several hours of trying to cover the worst of the damage with tarpaulins. I don't think the firemen had any better skills at doing such things than Mac, but they did have better equipment and younger bodies! Mac went back and forth to our place bringing tools and timber and a camp stove and eventually it was done and we all got back to our respective beds at about 4.00am.

I woke at 6.30 but Mac managed to sleep in until 8.00am and after feeding animals we headed back to Pat and Colin's place.

The roof as the firemen did it.

The cattle had broken through the fences during the storm as the electric fences don't hold them back without power, so Pat and Colin had been down sorting them out.

Mac rang his brother, Ray, who came out with another large tarpaulin, and so the morning was spent working to cover as much of the roof as possible, replacing some tiles, and tying the tarps down better.

An uprooted tree on the lawn

The tree was uprooted, but the fruit on the row of citrus trees behind were still hanging undisturbed on their branches.

One of Colin's sons, plus two grandsons, arrived to help. Pat and I went back to our place to make soup on our gas stove and use our toilet which uses ram pump water, so is not dependent on an electricity powered water pump. When we got back, Colin's ex-wife and her husband, had arrived with bottles of water, freshly baked scones and jam, and a couple of meals for them to heat up on the fire top. Not bad for an ex! They didn't stay for more than a cup of tea - and they had even brought their own cups so there would be fewer dishes for Pat and Colin - before leaving. Shortly afterwards Colin's daughter and family arrived to see for themselves that Colin and Pat were okay.

We too headed off and discovered that we too had a bit of damage. A pinenut tree split in half and landed on the boundary fence. Today we discovered a kahikatea tree in the bush by the driveway - I expect we will find are more when we have the time and weather to investigate.

Our pinenut tree.

On Saturday night we managed to borrow a generator from a friend of Ray's and got it set up to run the fridge, freezer and water pump.

With all the wild weather, the sick chook decided that a cardboard box with straw was not good enough, and moved into Bob's kennel, much to his distress.

The shower I had before going to sleep for ten hours was one of the best ever - after a day of working in rain and mud we really needed showers. On Sunday morning we were going to take the generator down to Pat and Colin to get their freezers and water going, but first Otis, Hannah and baby Levi came to visit to have showers - the wetback on the fire meant we had plenty of hot water once the pump was going. We were just having a cup of tea when, 36 hours after it stopped, the power came back on.

We still had to take the generator back, and tidy up some of the branches on our driveway. Pat and Colin  finally heard from their insurance company, well after dark, who told them to call a builder. The people down the road called their insurance company on Saturday and someone was sent out straight away to encase their property in proper heavy-weight tarps. I think Colin and Pat should change companies!

It's been a hell of a weekend, and despite my good sleep last night, my blood sugar level is dreadful and I am shattered.

Our neighbour's shed - there's an old red truck in there somewhere.
 Uprooted trees, and others snapped off - yet the old shed was untouched. (Colin and Pat's next door neighbour's property.) 

 The paddock where Colin's horse and foal had been until the day before the storm.

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