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 ***
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.
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.
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.
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…
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