We were without power for five days over Christmas, but fortunately suffered none of the flooding or trauma that have blighted so many people. In fact, it was, for the most part, rather jolly. With no electricity to lure the children to their computers, we battled each other at Cluedo, cooked on the barbecue under an umbrella and arrived like a catering company to cook Christmas lunch at my parents. One friend served pasta and Brussels sprouts, cooked on a camping stove, for the great Yule feast.

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The weather throughout was endlessly atrocious. One morning, I found a kestrel on our doormat-stunned, I presume, from a collision in the fierce wind, it spent the rest of the morning on a beam in our carport, out of the way of the storm. Hunts have had to cancel many meets and the shoot I went on provided not only the fastest flying pheasants I’ve ever missed, but also a better soaking than I managed in the freezing shower I had each morning. There are trees down everywhere and the clear-up will take many weeks, but my thoughts and thanks go to the engineers who worked so hard to restore power over the Christmas period.

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