About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

After the rain

This is rather old news, as it's nearly a week since we had a month's rain in 24 hours, but still...

When Rain in Wales makes the ten o'clock news, you know there's been a lot of rain.

Up here in the mountains, things weren't too bad. The stream running through next door's garden (and alongside ours) got a bit torrential...

This stream usually comes under the bridge as a gently babbling brook

... and I made a small dam on the driveway to direct the water into the drainage pipe.

This may not look like it's making much difference, but it reduced the ruts in the gravel a bit.

On Friday afternoon we went out to meet some friends but didn't get far before we met this:

There was quite a lot of wind as well as rain, the combination of which brought this tree down.

Actually that's sometime after we met it and the road is almost open again by this time. When we had to stop, we got out of the car and went to see if we could help move the tree. The only other people standing around turned out to have been in their car when the tree came down on top of them. It landed on their bonnet (what's that in American? It's the front bit) and their momentum kept them going right through the falling tree before they could stop. Although the car was undriveable and the windscreen was smashed (but still mostly in place), the people were completely unharmed, apart from the shock. Really quite remarkable.

We couldn't move the tree intact, so we broke off what we could and tidied up small bits while someone with a Land Rover and tow rope came and pulled the tree round, until the rope snapped. No-one had a chainsaw with them, but somebody did have a disc cutter, which he used on the larger branches. When most of those had been moved, the Land Rover drove through the remaining small branches to break them off, which is what you see in the photo. At about this point someone said, Has anyone called the police? Well, I hadn't thought to. A few minutes later we heard sirens, so someone obviously had. By that time we'd just about got the road open again, though the police car managed to park in the most unhelpful place and blocked the traffic again. We left as the fire service turned up to finish clearing the tree away. By this time we were soaked, so we abandoned our journey and went home to change.

We ventured out again later and the journey was far less eventful, at least on the way out. It continued to rain heavily all evening and the journey back was frankly terrifying. There was a lot of standing water on the roads and hitting a very large puddle at 40 mph in the dark is no fun at all. Luckily we made it home, because it wasn't long before that road was completely closed.

When things had all calmed down the next day we went out again to have a look at the floods. As we approached Aberystwyth we could see a lot of water in the valley...

... and from closer to town we could see what had happened to the caravan park near the river.

We didn't go down into the town, but I've pinched this picture that a friend posted on facebook (cheers, Sarah ;)

Not many people at the supermarket today

After that we went inland, over the mountain road, to see the reservoir dams. We didn't get that far, though, because on the way we met this:

Range Rover stuck in landslide.

OK, we'd ignored the Road closed signs too, but when we got to a landslide we stopped and had a look at it before deciding whether to drive through it or not (not). We spent some time helping to dig them out, then someone turned up in a Land Rover with a tow rope (not the same person as the one who helped with the tree) who by some very skillful driving managed to pull them out. On the way back we stopped to chat with some locals (spotted earlier with a shovel, clearing a smaller slippage) and had a good laugh about tourists who think they can drive through anything if they have a good enough vehicle.

For those of us high and dry in the mountains it was all rather exciting. Would it be very wrong to feel pleased that I got my leeks in just before the rain?


  1. Eee Gads! Now that's some rain! I'm glad you're OK and that the house didn't wash away or something. Oh, and the American word for "bonnet" is "hood."

    BTW - this is totally off topic, but I've been sucked into the Ancestry.com vortex recently, and I discovered that I have a pile of ancestors from Wales. They were all from Carmarthenshire, the towns of Pembrey, Llanelly and St. Clear. Is that anywhere near you?

    1. Cheers, Cat :-)

      Well, it's about as far away from here as you can get and still be in Wales (i.e. not fall into the sea) but, yes, it is fairly near - about 70 miles. Wales is a small country, though it does take a lot longer to travel around it than anyone expects.

  2. Glad you/house/garden are all okay- I have been thinking about you watching the news. A friend was on holiday in Aberdyfi- soggy but unharmed too, fortunately.

    Now lets have some sun so the leeks grow!

    1. Thanks for your concern, Hazel :-)
      The weather forecast says there's more on the way, so I hope we don't see the same again this weekend.

  3. Ian "The Husband"19 June 2012 at 17:58

    I can't believe you didn't ask me what the American term for a bonnet is. Honestly! :-p


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