Saturday morning was a bit full-on – and not just because we had to get ready for Her Outdoors’ and the Daughter’s joint birthday party.

As I walked down the drive to feed the animals in the morning, I thought I could see a huge river coming out of the woods on the far side of the land, where a river should not be. Fortunately, it was just a huge river coming out of another part of the land, where it shouldn’t be but sometimes is.

I walked round the caravan at the bottom of the drive to find the awning in tatters, metal poles bent this way and that, plastics dustbins with animal feed open to the rain, many months of accumulated bits and pieces in dire need of clearing up.

Which I would have done straight away, if I didn’t need to check on the polytunnel. The plastic was flapping around in what can also be described as a stiff breeze. Two of the horizontal poles were bent (they’re made from galvanised steel – I think – anyway, they’re bloody heavy). And there were a number of bits and pieces that needed rescuing.

Which I would have done straight away, if I didn’t need to feed the animals. As I walked towards Pepito with some hay, the electric fence blew over (it’s all about timing). The plastic spacers (have I told you how much I hate plastic?) sheered off at the base, becoming landfill for the next 2,000 years. Fortunately, the hay distracted Pepito long enough for me to get some metal spacers from the chicken run, where I found the small chicken house resting on its back, having cast off its roof.

Only Arc One – the pig house – was left unscathed.

I went steadily to and fro, filling the caravan with animal food, tools, rubbish, pieces and bits. Dividing my time between the awning (which I dismantled and then ripped down, to discover I have a new and very useful tarpaulin – huzzah) and the polytunnel (ever tried to handle a 10 x 6 metre piece of plastic in a gale?) when – BANG, CRASH, WALLOW – I looked over to see the pig-house roof cartwheeling down the field, popping a rivet as it went.

At this point I swore. You know the word. I shan’t repeat it here.

Eventually, wooden posts were securing the horse field, rocks had been moved to help the river run through, the caravan was full of stuff, the plastic was stashed, the chicken house righted and I went home for lunch. Where I found we had no electricity and Her Outdoors had no mobile phone reception.

Needful to say, the party was blissful. The house was lit by dozens of candles. The only sound was next door’s generator. And a hardy group of English mafia (not everyone made it, for reasons mentioned above) stood around eating our national dish – Indian.

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