Last night, the wind howled like a wolf at the moon and screamed like a banshee as it squeezed its way through those little chinks that exist wherever there are old wooden windows and doors (and some, of a more modern design). There was much rattling and banging of everything that was not firmly battened down, with an occasional louder bang or rattle from an unknown source to unnerve one, just as the sleep reflex was managing to get the better of the disturbance.
Alejandra went out (against my advice – it can be dangerous when bits of debris are flying around) and moved plant-pots to places of greater safety (too late for one glazed pot). We had been forecast gusts of 70 kph but, from experience, some of these were quite a bit greater than 70. It was, therefore, with some trepidation that we ventured out this morning to assess the damage. There is a square slab of concrete (probably weighs several kilos) resting on the solar panel and if that had hit Alejandra on the head, the result would have been certain death. This slab, we are pretty sure, is the cap stone from on top of next-door’s now-disused chimney.
However, worse was to be revealed. Not so long ago we had a completely new roof fitted to the house. In addition, we also had new gutters fitted. The gutters are aluminium and are made to size. They are attached to the roof by small brackets that are attached to the edge-tiles. The house is located almost at the top of an incline
Quite high up
with no other properties of a similar height intervening (great for uninterrupted views but not for breaking the wind-flow) so the wind is forced upwards. The wind, therefore was not only blowing with strong gusts, it was being forced up under the gutters with the inevitable result that the aluminium gutters were pushed and bent upwards taking the edge-tiles with them.
Anyone who has visited Spain will recall that many (if not most) houses have what are known as persianas at the windows to keep out the summer sun and heat; they also deflect the rain. Some persianas are built-in but many, if not, most, just hang by a couple of hooks positioned above the window and literally “hang” (although, possibly tethered to a hook at the bottom).
This type is quite light in weight (being made of slats of wood or plastic wired together) so they tend to blow about in strong winds or even come adrift, and when they do, they become ‘unguided’ missiles. It is not unusual after a night of winds to find a few persianas in the street. One of ours, from the front of the house, was in the street outside, but the one from the first-floor bathroom was at a neighbour’s house around the corner in the next street.
So now we await the arrival of the builder – due 8.30am tomorrow. Many properties seem to have suffered some kind of damage and the builder was out early this morning with a crew clearing debris from a street.