In early February France was hit by a series of severe storms, with lots of high winds. The middle one, which hit on Saturday 4 February was called Tempête Leiv (tempête is the equivalent of 'cyclone'). Wind speeds in some places in the south-west were recorded as 150 kilometres an hour.
|Render on the ground.|
I had to go to Blois that day so I watched the weather forecasts and reports carefully the day before and only made my mind up to go at the last minute. We had an orange weather warning ('be very careful, dangerous phenomena envisaged') and I needed to leave before dawn. In the end I decided to go, and drove off at 6.45am, in the dark. The wind turned out not to be too worrisome on the drive up, but there was a lot of water on the road, and on one occasion on the Loire levee I hit an invisible sheet of water and the car jerked in the direction of oncoming traffic. By then it was light, but I could have done without the experience.
|The render fell from the section above the cable that crosses horizontally.|
The drive home in the late afternoon was a doddle, with blue skies a lot of the way. When I got home I went to turn into our courtyard and realised that there was a pile of shattered render lying where I would normally park the car. I parked the car parallel to the street instead and took photos of the debris.
Simon tells me that about 3 minutes after I left there was an almighty crash. He thought it was me having forgotten something, coming in the back door and the wind catching it and slamming it. He called out to me but when there was no response decided he'd better investigate further. He went outside and looked around, but didn't notice the render on the ground (!).
|What it looked like several years ago. As you can see it was already a bit patchy, but the remaining render did at least appear to be attached to the wall.|
We are extremely lucky that I had left. If the car had still been there the render could have smashed the windscreen and certainly badly dented the roof and driver's side. If I had been sitting in the car when it happened it would have been thoroughly terrifying. Phew!