Down through the years, we have always had some issues when storms hit, as my farm is on the top of a hill and we are very exposed to wind from all directions.

The storms usually take down a few large trees and occasionally a slate or two, and sometimes a sheet of tin, but nothing major. I had lulled myself into a false sense of security, thinking that anything that was loose had already been blown down or away.

How wrong could I be?

The latest storm, Isha, proved me wrong. It completely destroyed two roofs, on two separate sheds.

Both were older sheds, but still extremely useful. They were both wagon roofs and had originally been designed as silo pits, but in recent years have been used as somewhere to store straw.

With the Blade calf-rearing business on the farm, we need a lot of straw throughout the year and storage is always an issue. Every bit of spare room is used.

Both sheds were probably past their best, but it is not cheap to try and build new sheds just to store things. The sheds were reasonably well maintained and I was not expecting to lose both roofs.


The evening of storm Isha, I took a late walk around the yard. The wind was extraordinarily strong and quite scary. I shone my torch around and I could see sheets of tin hanging off one of the roofs. There were more sheets lying around the yard.

At this stage I had seen enough (as it was extremely dangerous to be about the yard). I went back into the house and closed the door and went off to bed. I reckoned there was nothing I could do.

Morning came and we had no electricity, although the wind had eased a little.

The damage to each shed was much worse than I had expected, but at least none of us were hurt and the animals also escaped unscathed. However, there were sheets of tin everywhere throughout the yard and some were even two fields away – it really brings home the full power of the wind.

We spent most of that day gathering up tin and nails, and dismantling any loose tin. Then we had to try and move some of the straw to avoid it getting wet, although we didn’t have room to move it all, so we have had to leave some where it is and cover it as best as possible.

When I looked at what I was gathering up, I got a better understanding about why it happened. Most of the timber in the sheds had seen better days and the nails were starting to get loose – from the ground it was not easy to see that.


The next job was to ring my insurance company to see if they would cover any of the damage. They were extremely busy and said that they would ring me back.

Sure enough, they rang me back a few days later with the unwelcome news that I was not covered. It seems that I was only insured for fire, theft and earthquake cover.

The earthquake cover did give my boys a bit of a laugh – you would have to wonder what we need that for in this part of the world.

Anyway, so where to now? I really do not know what I am going to do. It seems like a good opportunity to potentially re-design the yard, but there are lots of issues.

Will I need planning approval? What is it going to cost? What am I going to do in the meantime?

I will have to get some answers and have a think before deciding my next steps.

But looking back at the last few days, I am thankful that no-one was hurt or killed – they are only sheds after all.

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