What a difference a day makes …

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.

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25 thoughts on “What a difference a day makes …

  1. dis yes – thank goodness. although we’re very close to the river, there are low-lying fields on the other side. the flood water goes out that way. if it was ever high enough to affect us, i reckon the whole country would be in trouble!
    nat yes it was a bit sudden and sobering, as a consequence. we’re all fine but i just went through a village where there were piles of wrecked furniture out on the pavements. awful for them – and more rain on the way, i hear.
    dis it’s looking very much that way – along with shipston under stour, preston under stour and welford under avon. my feet are nice and dry – and i appreciate that fact more than ever

  2. rivergirlie, saw Stratford on the news at the weekend, looked pretty grim. Hope you are OK. Very lucky here as had terrific flash floods only a couple of miles away the other night. Seems like nobody is safe lately. Take care.

  3. Hmm I just relaised what you meant in your email about a “Venetian Invasion” I had, bizarrely, assumed you had some Italian guests staying. Hope your feet are still dry.

  4. Hope the waters recede for you all.

    Did you know that you’re the number one Google result for ‘tian of leeks’?
    (Yes, we are culinary ignorant enough to have had to have Googled it to find out what it was!)

  5. Have been watching the news with disbelief. We get bad floods here too but we are lucky and live on the side of a valley way above the river. It must be so awful to have all your things ruined by muddy water. Glad you got your kids in time and hope you stay dry and safe.

  6. Thanks you for making the flooding seem more personal. The news always seem to be happening to somebody else in another county, country or planet. Hope you can still keep you feet dry. And what is a Tian? My wife’s just planted 90 leeks so I think we should get a tian to use with those leeks. Following Mr.X I also Googled “Tian of Leeks” and still don’t know what it is. It made matters worse as I now know that I don’t know what a “brandade of salmon” is or a “linguini of vegetable”. Do I need to know or shall we just make a winters worth of leek and potatoe soup.

  7. Thank goodness you and your kiddos made it home safely! I’ve been following this and cannot believe the extent of the damage nor the long-term estimates until normalcy returns.
    Hang in there and special condolences to the friends suffering their second flooding in a decade!

  8. Hope your still home and dry.

    Pleased to have found your blog

    Have just blogged a couple of poems on th floods and the fantastic work of the rescue services.

    Poetessxxx

  9. Blinky blimey – hope you are ok. If you wear your crocs at least all the water can seep through! Seriously, hope you are on higher ground – it’s all rather awful this flooding. I am very near to the Thames and it was looking very ‘full’ this morning.

  10. Are you alright there, Rivergirlie? I hope things are calming down a bit now. My friend Tobes lives in Stroud (Glos) and he said they had no drinking water and there was a man jetskiing down his road. Jesus.

    (Just to clarify, it wasn’t Jesus on the jetski, I don’t think.)

  11. I think the lack of drinking water is disgrace. I can’t believe they haven’t been able to refill those bowsers quick enough. My brother-in-law in Gloucester is fetching water from a nearby stream to flush the toilets. As I look at the pouring rain from our hill top home I realise how lucky we are but feel so helpless for those unfortunate to have to watch as their lives are ruined in slow motion.

  12. lia thanks – it’s quite apocalyptic, isn’t it? espcially the aerial photos
    bennett awful – truly. and it seems the other end of europe has a heat wave and forest fires?!
    rilly thanks for the kind thoughts. it think the flash floods are the scariest – it was quite sobering for me -i’ve never really encountered those conditions before. hope all is well with you oop north.
    moobs thanks – my feet are nice and dry … although i’m wearing berkenstocks (sp?) so in qualitative terms, something of a failure, perhaps. so sorry i won’t be seeing you this w/e, but i have high hopes for the near future
    mr x far better to be numero uno for leeks than my previous triumphs (for a while i was no 1 if you googled – slutty and smelly. great, huh?)
    sheepish on a hill is the very best place to be, i reckon!
    stephen i’ll drink to that (black market bowser water – pre boiled, of course)
    <b?fez leek’n’potato – yummers! i think a tian is just posh for a loads of stuff put in layers and baked. admittedly, it does sound rather more appetising. the leeks in question (hastily consumed) were sliced very thinly and cooked with loads of butter and all squidged together … i know, i should really be a food writer.
    charlotte thank you – we’re all fine so far. the worst of it is further east, although it’s absolutely tipping down again today! how is it in germany?
    <b<corgi hello and thank’s for your kind wishes. we’re safe and sound BUT my son is doing an athletics course this week … on an outdoors track! i’m just going to pick him up – i think i’ll take a change of clothes for him.
    poetess i so agree – and it’s so important to celebrate the everyday heroes.
    romo paradoxically, crocs are the perfect footwear for the conditions! (but i would say that, wouldn’t i?)
    nat our water supply is fine, so far. we had a few power interruptions and there’s summat up with the phones but nothing like what they’re enduring in gloucestershire. jesus on a jetski would cheer me right up, btw.
    fez it’s awful, isn’t it? and seeing the water come up and up and up must be terrifying. hope your bil is ok.
    pen thanks – the levels have dropped back here a bit and the main problems are further west, i think – but the ground is now so saturated that there’s nowhere for the new rain to go. there’s just been another downpour so there may be flash flooding – hope not.

  13. I was so sure I left a witty, heart felt, snark filled comment here? Did you censor me, Rivergirlie? Or am I having a brain blip?
    Any-hoo: even under water it all looks so civilized and twee. Sodden, yes – but charmingly so.

  14. Ahhh, floods. What a joy, all that drama, all that smelly water.

    I remember the New Year’s Flood of ’97 in Reno, Nevada. Yes, a desert town and, yes, it flooded to the tune of about 11 million in damage. Drove home in the pre-flood rains from California and had brown, icy water up to the bumper on my Ford 4×4, which sat 3 feet (1 meter) off the ground.

    The good news: don’t own a massive pickup any more, have been car free for three years. But I apologize for all the other thoughtless ‘Merikuns who drive Hummers and Jeep Cherokees four blocks to the corner store thus, inadvertently causing England to flood like Bangladesh.

    Glad you’re all right. Hope my friend, Nick, is. Last time I checked, he and his girlfriend still lived in Oxfordshire.

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