I came home tonight to find that, well, I couldn’t get home. One of the liquidambars halfway up our driveway has been dismembered by gale force winds. I did my best to drag it to the side of the driveway (wasn’t much point trying to get the Hunk to push it out of the way with his crutches) but in the end I had to just give up, reverse up… and then drive right over the top of it.

I got home just before dark but it wasn’t dark enough to hide the fact that my dahlias, despite being tied to sturdy wooden stakes, have been completely flattened today. ‘Raspberry Ripple’, especially, is now more like a can of crushed raspberries. Bugger. (The dog also dug up a dozen impatiens and a couple of hydrangeas while I was at work today, but that’s another story.)

The sunflowers are still standing, just, but the huge old plane tree at the far end of the lawn – which lost its middle in the last big storm – looks worringly as if it’s going to be blown apart tonight. Here’s hoping its branches don’t land on my broody chicken. I’ve rigged up an emergency black plastic garbage bag tent, weighed down with blocks of wood, over an old barbecue table chair, to keep her safe and dry.

In hindsight, my decision to rip out the ugly conifer shelterbelt along the side of the lawn, to open up the lovely view of the Hunua ranges, may not have been my smartest move.

On the plus side, what are the chance of another cyclone blowing through in exactly one month’s time? Nil, surely? Surely? Gulp…