Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Battered and Bruised but still in one piece (well nearly) after the Great Storm of 2014!

Some of our guests who have booked to stay at Pentre Bach this year may be wondering what state the house and cottages are in , following the storms of the last few weeks. Fear not! Pentre Bach is almost unscathed - well more or less! You may have followed some of the terrible stories on national and local news about what has happened to some of the towns and cities in this part of the country. Barmouth was hit badly with the first of the storms in early January. We enjoyed a cosy mulled wine or two in the Last Inn after walking across Barmouth Bridge on Christmas day but less than two weeks later the pub was under a metre of water. Our local Cambrian Coastline railway that passes the end of our field, was also hit badly in that same storm and complete stretches of the line were washed away, resulting in a complete closure of the line from Machynlleth round to Pwyllelli, for over 6 weeks. The line eventually reopened last week as far as Barmouth. It may be quite a few more weeks before the line north of Barmouth is reopened. Another victim of the storm was the Dyfi Osprey Project. They lost the tree perch that the ospreys used (easily replaced) and also an expensive camera that followers on Facebook are well on their way to replacing by their generous donations. Our village has got off very lightly so far. The first storm in early January brought down the footpath leading from the beach up past the Quaker Cemetery so when walking on the beach we usually have to retrace our steps and go back the way we came, but this is no hardship compared to other parts of the country. Last week's winds caused more havoc, with a number of trees being brought down and also caused numerous power cuts. The first one left us without electricity for 20 hours. So out came the candles, camping gaz and playing cards! We were lucky enough to have a log burner in our cottage so kept very cosy. Our electricity supply was then very spasmodic throughout the next 4 days. It certainly makes you appreciate electricity when you don't have it! How did people manage before TV, computers, tablets, microwaves and mobile phones? Fortunately we had an old-fashioned telephone that we'd kept (Mike never throws anything away!) so were able to plug that in to keep in contact with the outside world. We also had some damage to our main house roof when two large stone slabs from the top of our chimneys became dislodged and fell onto roof slates and smashed two of our older solar panels. The satellite dish was also affected but all of this can easily be repaired in time for our next set of guests. On the plus side, the weather has been very spring-like over the past few days, the birds are singing, and daffodils are starting to sprout everywhere. Rob's lambs at next door's farm will soon be appearing in the fields. Mike has been busy cleaning the exterior walls of the main house ready to paint the outside cream or Magnolia, which should greatly enhance the outside appearance of the house. Watch this space for more news about how this work is progressing. We've also been doing lots of spring cleaning and decorating in all of the cottages ready for a very busy season. We look forward to welcoming all our guests in 2014!