Moments after the sail snapped; click to watch the video (Sarah Duffy)
The wind seemed to come from nowhere. Nine o'clock on a Sunday morning; one moment just, well, windy (we're used to that up on the hill), the next a raging storm. The trees on The Walks swayed alarmingly and the cows grazing Brill Common, um, cowered. There was excited chatter on Facebook of rotating clouds and tornados, flying trampolines and blocked roads and then -
Worrying about the windmill in strong winds is a Brill Thing. People lucky enough to live overlooking the windmill open their curtains with trepidation the morning after and there's a palpable sense of relief when word goes round that, yes, she's survived another storm - but her luck ran out at 9.40 am on October 31st 2021. The unusual southerly wind struck the four fixed sails square-on and maybe something had to give - and it did. The four-o'clock sail snapped almost in half and the remnant tumbled across the grass and came to rest on the edge of the big Hollow on Brill Common. Thanks goodness no-one was underneath at the time.
Facebook went into overdrive: do something! tell someone! but who? The Brill Society, that's who; guardians of the windmill since time immemorial (well, 30 years or so). The wind dropped and a crowd gathered (ok, twelve people - but that's a crowd round here). Photos were taken, opinions aired, nervous jokes cracked (anyone got a tube of woodglue?). We picked up the broken fragments and stored them carefully in the roundhouse.