I wasn't there at the time being at work in London, which was largely wind free despite the torrential rain. Thus I was blissfully unaware until I was alerted by a phone call on the train home and told the awning, which acts as entrance, depository and storage facility, was on top of the caravan and the polytunnel plastic roof that keeps us dry in our trailer was flapping its last.
I don't get much sleep on a Saturday night. I work into the small hours and catch the first train to Devon, so this news was unwelcome since I had been promising myself a little snooze after lunch. But my woes were nothing to those being experienced at home.
Inside the caravan, the dog too had spent a sleepless night. She was found trembling unhappily and refused to eat her breakfast. Oody, it should be said, is no highly strung, dainty thing; she is a considerable poundage of bull terrier/labrador cross – refusal of food is not in her genes and a sign that she is very, very pissed off.
The wind, as I alighted at Tiverton Parkway, was strong though not alarmingly so. But on arrival at the field a hundred or so metres higher, the weather was savage. It was difficult to stand upright and hail was coming down – sideways. Bending double, with what felt like freezing gravel being persistently flung in our faces, it was a miserable trudge across the field to the sanctuary of the caravan. But poor Oody hated it the most, she whined and walked backwards shaking her head. She plunged into the undergrowth hoping for refuge, but finding none crawled out and walked backwards again. It was a pitiful sight.
There was little we could do to deal with the havoc outside. So we made a nice cup of tea and listened while the roof on the trailer billowed and flapped and tore, threatening to rip completely any minute exposing the porch Gully had built to the elements – and leaving the wooden trailer roof unprotected from the rain.
After the best part of a week of TV, comfy chairs and dinners cooked in a proper oven, the children were less than enthusiastic about returning home. But none more so than the dog. Oody loves her nana and she particularly loves her nana's house. For a start there are soft carpets on which it pleases her to roll and wriggle. Then there's a large ginger cat three doors down to get excited about – and two to three regular walks a day, necessitated by the lack of lawn there but not crucial in a three-acre field. Best of all, the house doesn't move and bits of it fall off and crash about in the middle of the night.