The lights go out as Storm Arwen batters the farm on the M62

As predicted, the storm that had been forecasted last week gave us a good battering

Bad weather closes the motorway.
Bad weather closes the motorway.

I’d taken the dogs out for a bracing walk just before the worst of the weather hit, to be greeted by a bitingly cold wind.

Instantly stripping the warmth from me, I cut the walk short, with no complaints from the dogs. I had a restless night listening to the old house shuddering against the onslaught from Mother Nature.

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Doors rattled, dogs howled and anything not secure in the yard was sent crashing down the lane.

I woke early to a cold and eerie silence, with an inky blackness encompassing the house. The windows were covered in snow, a disquieting hush in the air, only disturbed by my chattering teeth.

The motorway lights were off and after flicking several light switches in the house, it sunk in that ours was too. We’re used to power cuts at Stott Hall and I usually have a good stash of torches and candles, but on this occasion could only find John-William’s little Spiderman pocket torch.

I knew the storm must have been bad, as when I opened the door to get some wood for the fire, a heap of bodies tumbled into the kitchen. I jumped back in alarm. Two old ewes had taken shelter under our porch and were asleep against the door.

They were as shocked as I was when the door opened, leaving them rolling around on my kitchen floor. Like a scene out of Shaun the Sheep, they stood up, bleary eyed, staggered around the kitchen before begrudgingly being evicted.

As daylight broke, the extent of the damage was revealed. We’d got away pretty lightly and our faithful old house had weathered yet another storm. The wind had torn any remaining leaves from the trees and hedgerows.

Several of the big old Scot’s Pine trees had succumbed to the storm and were laying forlornly on the edge of the small copse of trees above the meadows. Our temporary gates at the end of the drive had blown over. But compared to many, we’d done ok. The day didn’t fare well for motorists.

Countless wagons had come to grief during the night in the treacherous conditions leaving them stranded across the carriageways up near junction 22. The eastbound carriageway was completely empty whilst the westbound was dotted with abandoned vehicles. The usual mayhem began with cars trying to find alternative routes.

Blindly following Satnavs, the small single track road to our farm was quickly blocked leaving it impossible to get on to the tops to feed the sheep. People seem to have unrealistic faith in their modern low-slung cars and will foolishly plough on, expressing disbelief when their expensive car nosedives into a snow drift.

It’s a major headache for us and no amount of ‘road closed’ signs stops these moronic drivers. Yet I never grow tired of the look on those drivers’ faces when a large angry fist-shaking farmer in a big green tractor threatens to upend their cars!