This evening we drove down to the Ardennes, picking up a nephew in Ciney on our way down. Recalling my 16 July post about the 14 July storm that hit Belgium, Ciney was one of the worst-hit towns. As we drove off the motorway we saw electricity pylons lying crumpled in the fields. Close to the town, whole rows of trees had not so much been uprooted as snapped off violently, as though there had been one sudden and brutal gust. But the most spectacular damage of all was done to the collegial church in the centre of town, where a large part of the spire fell into the apse (see photo), and a school lost its entire roof. Miraculously, there was only one death, a lorry driver, in Belgium. But it so clearly could have been much, much worse. (In Jodoigne a large group of schoolchildren got out of a gymnasium minutes before the roof collapsed.) Aeons ago, before the motorway was built, we used to drive up to Brussels through a town called L’église. It was just an Ardennes town, but it had one particularity; all of the slate roofs were new. The reason was that the town had been hit by a mini-tornado. I remember thinking at the time that this must have been an extraordinarily rare occurrence. Not quite so rare, it seems….