Cedars wobble but they don’t fall down

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More gales this week and, unlike the ones we just had, they were a surprise to me. The last high winds were talked about for days ... and days ... and days.

They were on the radio, on the TV news, storm warnings, predictions, tales of woe issuing forth.

I expect wandering minstrels were writing ballads about them and folk were travelling from far-flung lands – such as Langholm and Oxton – to witness them. A true spectacle.

At Shoogly Towers the entire party retreated with ample provisions and battened ourselves into the extensive wine cellars for the duration.

We figured at least we would have something to drink should the worst happen, and our crumbling ancestral pile decided to completely crumble.

Emerging blinking into the half-light of the picture gallery, with its drawn shutters, we were delighted to see Shoogly Towers still proudly standing, just a little rough around the edges, like a Christmas cake that’s been secretly mauled and nibbled by a naughty child.

With top speeds of 50-60mph, the gales were more pussycat than lion rampant.

Even I, with a full load of gin, am able to remain upright and even walk in this wind speed. I have photographic evidence of this from when I walked from the old hotel at Duntulm out to the clifftop ruins of the former MacDonald castle nearby.

Admittedly, I had to hang on to the wire fence all the way – well, we were being blown into it so we didn’t so much cling and walk as just stand there, pinned against it by the wind, and roll ourselves along it right up to the castle entrance.

Ah, those happy days on summer holibags on the balmy isle of Skye with its dry climate and endless clear views of sea and mountain. Scotland’s very own Montana. And before anyone writes in to complain about me complaining about a Scottish island, I must remind them that I love Skye.

It is a magical place, and Mr E and I got hitched there. But it ain’t no Maldives.

Anyhoo, last week, no such windy warnings. Or, if there were, they weren’t as obvious. I certainly missed them.

We had a visitor at 10am on Thursday last week and by the time they left at 11.30 they could barely make it across the gravel to their car, so strong was the crosswind.

As we waved our cheery goodbyes, doubting she would make it back up the road to Embra without being blown off course into a windmill at Soutra, we were entranced to see one of the trees in the drive rocking back and forth. Like a clown in lead shoes, it would lean improbably far back with each gust, then right itself afterwards.

The fascinating – in a ‘watching a poisonous snake weave its head before it strikes’ kind of way – thing about it was that as it rocked back, the ground actually moved. You could see the grass stretching upwards as the tree rocked back and the roots lifted.

I did what any sensible and right-thinking person would do in such circumstances – I videoed it on my mobile phone.

Come Friday morning, the tree – plus another that had been looking like a goner – were still standing.

We took the mutt pack for a hurl round the wee woodland walk at Harestanes, to discover they hadn’t been so lucky. A large branch had broken away and sliced through the handrail of the wooden bridge. Ouch.