The work of clearing roads, replacing roof tiles, sweeping streets free of debris, and generally getting back to some sense of normality goes on. It was truly a great storm, tornado or hurricane even, with wind speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour recorded. Of all the Tuscan provinces affected it’s been confirmed that Bagni di Lucca was the hardest hit. Capannori then followed, not forgetting the pines of Versilia.
This morning I went down with our local woodman Maurizio to work out how to put my orto shed up again. Much to my disappointment I noted that the sciacalli (jackals) had already been at work and that both my bush strimmers, one of which I’d just bought last August as “my own” birthday present had disappeared. My pump had also gone and the wind had wrecked part of the plastic sheeting used to line my reservoir.
I checked up the pictures I took of the shed on the day the storm on Wednesday at 4.30 pm and noted that the bush strimmers had already been taken. So my theory of their disappearance is that either they were taken on the day of the storm before 4.30 pm or that the shed had been broken into during my absence in London some time in February. Since the front door was down with the rest of the wreckage there was no way of knowing if the shed had actually been broken into. It is now literally broken.
Anyway I now realise that storm damage can be an opportunist open door (forgive the pun) for jackals (I’d use a far stronger word in English) AKA thieves and pilferers.
On the bright side of things the raging wind inferno, if it was the earth’s will that it had to happen could not have happened at a better time. Most of the damage was done around 6.30 am which meant that few people were out and about. Moreover, none of the trees (except the evergreens which were, of course, the worst affected, also because of their shallow roots) had sprouted their leaves as yet. Furthermore, several of the fallen trees showed signs of inner decay – they could have fallen at any time and perhaps killed someone.
As it was the victims in our area remain only one (one too many, of course) – a lad who was killed when one of the boulders, which are traditionally used to secure roof tiles (the tiles are of two types: tavole, the actual tiles, and coppi, the rounded bits which are used to bind the tavole together), fell off down on his head. The worst damage was, of course, to the cars many of which in our area have smashed windows, dented body work, not just as a result of trees falling on them but because of the whirlwind of debris which smashed against them.
I shall now have a little more knowledge of what it’s like to go through a Caribbean hurricane or a south East Asian typhoon. I shall know how frightening the noise of the wind can be, an almost biblical rushing of the winds after a great calamity. I shall also know how people can pull themselves together in a concerted effort and help each other. Indeed, I’m shortly off to be rewarded by lunch from a friend who lives in San Gemignano for having aided her in sweep up the mountains of tiles which were swept off her house on that fateful night which no-one ever remembers having happened in living memory. We had to eat the food anyway as without any electricity everything would have gone bad in the deep freeze. I don’t think I’ve eaten so much pizza at one meal in my life!
Anyway we’re alive, the sun is shining today and the gusts of wind have largely abated. And the shepherd girl who has just come past my front gate with her flock has confirmed that all her sheep are safe. These are the truly important things in life.
(A romantic candle-lit supper by default)
A couple more things. One of Mr Plod’s blinds is now flapping perilously in the wind and will eventually drop down on the ground. I wonder if he is going to accuse me of having stolen that one too. Is it the case of the blind leading the blind?
On more positive notes, our lovely lemon tree has found a new home or at least a new pot and Cheeky, among the other cats, doesn’t bat an eyelid at any recollection of the night when the universe howled and even uplifted a neighbour’s cat from ground until it was found the following morning at the top of a tree.
Incidentally, here’s a picture of my storm survival kit which saw us through it.
And I would include the flowers I planted this morning as another calming measure, apart from the G & T.
What’s seeing us publish, at long last, these much delayed posts is the generator they’ve installed in our little village of Longoio. Viva l’Italia!