Derek – Monday 21st February 2022

The storms keep coming, first Dudley, then Eunice, and as I write along comes Franklin. The not so cuddly threesome, bringing rain and high winds. Storm Eunice hit the garden in some quite surprising ways. A clear plastic pane from the greenhouse roof was blown away to some place unknown. We can’t find it. Not in the garden, not in the Gateway site next door, nor along the street. The wind must have whipped it out and flung it like a frisbee into the Guinness Book of Records.

The greenhouse door has lost its bottom half, but at least that’s around. One of the sections of the dividing fence between us and Gateway got blown out. We find it in the Gateway garden and leave it to them to put back, as it is their fence. Plants in pots were blown over, some we could just lift upright and others needed re-potting, as did the sage blown off the sleepers in our herb project. Chairs and tables were knocked over, but no matter, they are tough enough.

The big damage is to our fence on Earlham Grove and Sprowston Road, and to the front gate. The fence on Sprowston has temporarily been tied in with ropes running across the garden and a large post out on the pavement, angled at about 45 degrees, a buttress pressing against the fence to hold it upright. We’ve had to put railings round the buttress to stop pavement users hitting it. We’ve put another buttress on Earlham to support the fence there, protecting it with safety railings.

The front gate was blown down, giving us a gap as wide as a garage. This happened on Friday when the storm was at its wildest. We temporarily blocked it off with pallets and tyres. On Saturday morning, a gang of volunteers came in to do a less temporary repair. Four upright pallets were screwed across the gap. On that was put chicken wire. It looks rather like a volleyball court. Still temporary, but it will do for a while.

The lost pane, known as a light, blown out of the greenhouse roof, is troublesome as the greenhouse is not holding heat. We do a bodge with a piece of clear corrugated plastic; it doesn’t fit too well, so we attempt to hold it in place with bricks and string, As I write, it has been raining fiercely with high winds. I wonder if the ill-fitting plastic has lasted the night.

On the inside of the fence on Sprowston Road, we have taken down Rose’s dibond photos of insects. We’ll put them up somewhere else. But now, we need to saw holes in the fence, say a foot or so square. Their purpose is to break the force of the wind, so the fence is able to withstand the blasts. We are hoping in the not too distant future to have a fence which makes the garden much more visible to passers-by, as our wooden fence tends to hide us away. But such wire fences are costly, and in the meantime, we’ll cut holes to keep the one we have standing.

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