plate design by Kim Tillyer

I started writing this last Friday, the day before Storm Desmond showed up…..

Have I told you that this house feels like a boat at the moment? Not that it’s moving, just that it sits here at the head of the valley with it’s stern to the prevailing wind and rain which slams into it as it rushes down from the fells and it sounds like crashing waves. In front the track becomes a river; cutting channels in the fallen leaves which never got dry enough to crunch through . The land rises steeply at the back where a tortured, pollarded Sycamore holds bird feeders that swing out almost horizontal in the wind and the woodpecker clings on like a trapeze artist; the only bright thing out there (recently I saw bullfinches who were pretty snazzy too but preferred nettle seeds behind the oil tank to swinging about for peanuts). It has rained for days and days and days *** Here I was going to insert a big rant about MPs voting to bomb Syria and Climate Change and biblical floods but I think I’ll leave it to your imagination. It’s frightening and frustrating and I despair ***

cat and woodpile

So after I wrote that, things went crazy and after getting home on in gale force winds, clearing fallen trees from the lane, we battened the hatches and spent all of Saturday feeding the stove, catching drips in buckets and feeling helpless to help but guiltily cozy as the disaster unfolded just a mile down the road. Twitter was the only way to make sense of it… real time posts as the water levels rose in Keswick, inching up the glass storm defense and eventually tipping over to inundate the town for the second time in 6 years. Now everything I was going to write seems self indulgent and ridiculous. We walked up Latrigg yesterday, as the day was insultingly sunny and calm, and marveled at the scene below- Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake joined in a continuous stretch of shimmery water – one lake to rule them all.

Keswick and Bassenthwaite floods from Latrigg

It was beautiful and fascinating from a distance but back in the town I felt guilty and too ashamed to even take a picture of the river as people’s homes and businesses were spilled out on to the pavements in muddy piles. It was horrible and reminded me of what I was going through this time last year; losing your home, no running water, mud. I wanted to help but it also made me painfully aware that I’m not yet a part of this community.

rural solitude drawing

Anyway, there is a fundraising page here and various collection centres for donations of food and clothing across Cumbria so hopefully by sharing this I will be doing what I can. I tried to drive to Braithwaite ( our closest village)  today, armed with a shovel and a yard brush to help the clear up but there was a digger clearing a landslide so I had to turn around. I’ll try again tomorrow. Meanwhile my heart goes out to all those affected, I wish I could do more.

cherry cake

Whenever I write a blog post I upload the photographs first with a vague idea of what I wanted to say but to be honest it’s completely slipped my mind now! I think it was going to be a thing about how excited I was to have sold some work at the Great Print Exhibition, amongst such great company, followed by a mention that these cushions are now in my Etsy shop; I might even have been going to share the recipe for my wonderous cherry and almond cake…

Little House cushion

I wanted to write things about the fact that its a year ago exactly since I first saw this place and how that feels, and about how the cat now occasionally sits on me  which is cozy (until she bites) which makes me understand (almost) how easy it might be to turn in to a crazy cat lady if only to save on heating bills! The reason the cat sits on me could be that my daughter bought me a polar bear onesie as a surprise the other day and it makes hibernation even more tempting.

But for now I think it’s best to just be quiet, hope that the kettle boils soon and that the wind and rain settles down and gives us a break. Stay safe and warm where ever you are. x

embroidery detail



5 responses to “Aftermath

  1. I was thinking of you watching that terrible flooding, while we had our share of Summer storms…..lots of lightening strikes, some rain and damage in some areas………then there were those days in South Australia where the temperature went way over 40C and I just can’t imagine anything much worse……..then the photos of the flooding there…….stories of how we are once again bomb our way to peace…………!!!! It’s hard to be in the world sometimes……but here we are. Thanks for sharing your life, as usual I find it fascinating… different to here. Blessings to you.

    • Kat it’s so odd to think that it’s blazing hot summer with you. We had snow today…the first to settle near the house but not the first on the mountain tops. Keep cool and we’ll try to keep warm. X

  2. Another good, interesting piece. Hope you are able to help with the cleanup in some way. Maybe just with that lovely cake and your Kelly kettle on the go. Stay safe.

  3. A beautiful card caught my eye in the Salt Box gallery in Helmsey today. I bought it and it turns out was designed you. I wanted to find out more so Googled you. So very sorry you lost your home in such shockingly brutal way. You are brave to have moved to what seems to be a remote if beautiful place
    I shall continue to read your blog. Have a joyful Christmas and a secure and successful 2016.

    • Ooh, that’s such a nice comment and lovely that you found my blog via the Saltbox ( I worked there until I had to move, it’s a beautiful gallery) thank you so much for getting in touch x

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