On Friday, at about 12.30, I parked my car on Riverside just along from the theatre and went to join about a dozen friends for lunch at The Vintner, in Sheep Street. We’ve all known each other since our kids were a primary school together, and we still meet regularly for one escapade or another. Anyway, this get together was to celebrate our last day of ‘freedom’ before the school holidays began. We were all settled in with a drink each and had just placed our orders (lamb kebab with couscous and tian of leeks, since you ask) when the mobiles started to ring.
First of all we were a bit blase. The river wasn’t especially high – the bridge was clear. They were probably over-reacting. Surely the buses would get though. The teachers probably just wanted to get home early. Gradually, it became clear that this wasn’t a false alarm. The rain was sheeting down outside and we started trying to make sensible plans. Drivers of 4x4s, normally teased unmercifully, were now the focus of attention. How many kids could they take? Which way would they go?
More calls. More news. The Birmingham Road had been closed. Ingon Lane was a torrent. It was nose to tail on the Alcester Road. We paid and left.
My car – very much NOT a 4×4 – was still fine, the river still within its banks so I set off on the 20 minute drive, going through Shottery to shave a little time off the journey. An hour and a half later, I was nervously inching through a stream of water, trying to stay near the middle of the road where, to judge from the car in front, it was still shallow enough to negociate. Ten minutes later, I arrived at the school.
The head had everyone together in the hall. I picked up my two and another boy who was going the same way and we set off again. The water was certainly deeper now, but the traffic was lighter. Most people had heeded the warnings and got themselves home. We were back by 5.00pm.
A couple of hours later, the only way to have reached the school would have been by boat. Have a look. Images 1, 2 and 9 are of the road to my kids’ school. Images 3 and 4 are a stone’s throw from where I parked before lunch. Image 5 was taken in the village where we were supposed to be at a party last night. Image 7 is where my husband was going for a meeting. Image 8 is the village where our friends, Chris and Jo, have been flooded out of their house for the second time in 10 years.
Spare a thought.