Crunch time – at 1am

Donna and I woke at 1am this morning to the terrifying sounds of crashing branches, creaking roof and general calamity around us. We really thought that was it, but thankfully it stopped and we were still in one piece. Turning the lights on everything seemed OK, then we noticed that a small hanging shelf had come off its hook and was sitting on top of the stereo, scattering the ornaments and keepsakes that were on it onto the bedroom floor.

Venturing outside we were puzzled – where had the garden gone? All we could see was a wall of green foliage – then realising (as we woke up) that a tree had come down and must have hit the house. We couldn’t get up the paths to the road at all to see any damage and so we treked around the house to the other side only to see the large trunk of a tree on the ground and a smashed barge boards, gutters and eaves at a rather-not-horizontal angle. We went back to the toolshed and got our hand loppers out and trimmed back small branches and foliage to get uphill towards the road to be able to shine a torch back on the roof and saw a rather bent tin roof. 🙁

Turned out that a large European ash tree next to the house had split at a large fork part way up and a 30-40 foot long trunk had come crashing down onto the corner of the house that is our bedroom. Fortunately the roof beam to the chimney held and the trunk then rolled off the roof, trashing the eaves and barge boards as it came down and landed a foot or two from the gas meter (with its exposed pipes) outside the house. We called the insurance people to get a claim in and then called the State Emergency Service to come and check the roof and chuck a tarp on it if necessary. An hour or so later (we were their third call that night) a lady volunteer from the SES came out and took a look and after a quick look around told us that (a) we were lucky and (b) the roof actually looked to be fairly intact, with only the chance that really heavy rain might make it leak.

Next morning this is what it looked like, as the folks the insurance people sent started to clear the tree away.

The tree limb that fell on our house

This evening the chap to inspect the roof arrived and was pleased to tell us that whilst badly bent it was intact and it wasn’t going to leak, so we’re considering ourselves very lucky indeed. Sadly our lovely old ginkgo biloba wasn’t so lucky, it has lost a big branch and the top of the tree, torn off as the ash trunk came down. The folks who carted the trunk away reckoned it may not survive such an injury, which given it’s a beautiful tree is really sad. They’re not cheap to replace either, should it not make it (or our attempts to take cuttings from the fallen pieces fail). 🙁

So, another exciting day in the Samuel household! Be nice if we could have just a boring few months with nothing happening for a change.. 🙂