The Big Wind
In my wildest dreams, I never once considered that during our time in Ireland, Arden and I’d find ourselves in the midst of a hurricane! While it doesn’t begin to compare to Houston’s Harvey or the devastation Florida and Puerto Rico sustained, it has still rendered this country powerless.
Allen and I were “trip-crazy,” (another Ooma-ism, describing your excitement before an upcoming journey) during the night so a good night’s sleep was elusive. Therefore, we were aware when the wind began to blow in the middle of the night. By 5:00, when he had to get up and shower, it was only building steam but still dry outside. No rain, yet.
Michael, the most dependable cab driver in the entire world, picked us up promptly at 5:25 to get me back to the school and Allen on the road to Cork to catch the bus to Dublin. At this writing, I do not know what his status is. The last I heard was that he was through security and had a boarding pass.
Around 10:00 this morning, our power went out and we have spent the day without power or water. Turns out, the well’s pump is electric. So, that meant our toilets had one flush and we have more than one person per toilet. And, we had no drinking water. Ever resourceful, we made do with what we had. We pooled all our provisions and made a dozen or so scrambled eggs and had been given a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from the Bread Shed this morning, so we had a decent, early afternoon meal.
Happily, ours is one of two cottages with a gas stove so we are able to cook. All the others have electric. All day, people came in and out, gathering here and our wee room with the gas stove was the warmest room in the place. Joe, who was in the possession of a lot of pork he’d just gotten from Frank Murphy this morning, came over to cook it on our stove, drawing ever more crowds here. We traded our fire for his food.
We all hunkered down in here, with our binders and study guides, trying to bone up on the things we need to learn for next week’s six-week exam. After doing more of that than we could bear, people turned to pleasure reading and napping. Nanne, pronounced, “Nuh-Nuh,” tried to make bread on top of our wood-burning stove, to not great effect. His “bread” wound up as kindling which we needed more of anyway. All the other food efforts were successful and everything we did, got the name, Storm Studying, Storm Naps, Storm Eggs, Hurricane Stew, etc.
The real takeaway from this is how vulnerable we, as the general citizenry, are. It’s very humbling how ill equipped we are in survival knowledge. Country folks are far better prepared for events like this than city people are. It made me think of Jane Austen and her lovely books and how quaint it all seems, taking her stories in from this side of the page. They read books, played the piano, went for walks when gentlemen came to call and when the weather was nice but they had no electricity either and when it got dark, they pretty much had to go to bed. Actually living something resembling that, I bet it was horrendous!
Cabin fever set in, inevitably, and I had to get out of here and survey the damage, once the worst of it had passed. There was evidence of the storm everywhere and the wind continues to howl. Fences are in disarray, tree limbs are down and not one light is on anywhere. I ran into Toby, Darina’s son, who told me the entire country is without power! That’s just incredible to me. He said they were going to begin trying to reestablish power this evening and that hopefully we’d have gas in the morning. That way, he said, we’d at least have the hobs (stovetops) to cook on. Also, this was the first time in the 35 years of the school’s history that they’ve ever cancelled class. Further reporting has just confirmed that they’ll work to get the power on to cities first and we, in the middle of nowhere, will literally be last on the list.
I foraged for some felled twigs and smaller limbs for our stove, so we’d at least have that for heat and some light. I also discovered that the hen house has a generator humming along, keeping them warm. At least we’ll have more eggs tomorrow. #Priorities
It’s black as pitch right now and I sense a make-lemonade-out-of-lemons spirit. I imagine an Ophelia “blowout” is underway as everyone is eating Storm Sandwiches and drinking Hurricane Heinekens. The gathering voices in the other room and the hilarious card game beside me called Bullshit tell me, no one’s going to go to bed anytime soon. We’re partying up a storm.