Zut, it’s Zeus

Storm Zeus thundered through France yesterday leaving a trail of damage in its wake. Winds reached up to 193 kph at their height. We’d been forecast to have gusts of up to 120 kph but I suspect they may have been a bit stronger than that. We ventured out a couple of times to deal with emergencies – a bowled-over guinea-pig cage with cowering occupant being one of them – and it was hard work walking into the wind. I’d put my poultry away before the storm reached full strength, which is just as well as I’d probably never have seen any of my hens and turkeys ever again. I noticed that whenever the birds were buffeted by the wind, they immediately and instinctively turned to face it with their heads lowered.

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We didn’t suffer as much damage as we feared, but it’s enough. Two stands of trees have come down on the banks of Alder Lake, the barn roof has predictably lost some tiles and lighter items have been blown all over the place. One food bin has completely disappeared!

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I was intrigued by Zeus’ name since I’m more used to the US and UK methods of naming storms which begin at A every calendar year, and alternate between girls’ and boys’ names. Not so France. Here the storm naming is a continuous process, alternating between an alphabet’s worth of girls’ names followed by an A-Z of boys’ names. Zeus marked the last of a run of 26 ‘male’ storms so the next storm that comes France’s way will be given a girls’ name beginning with A. Only first names are ever used – surnames and product names are strictly forbidden. So there won’t ever be a Tempête Camembert or Tempête Macron, for example.

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Just when we thought we were finished with the chainsaw on the lakes, it’s time for Chris to start sawing and me to start lugging to make sure everything is clean and tidy for when the angling season starts in a week and a half’s time. We’d better get busy!

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