Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Cornwall Floods

Well I wasn't expecting that this morning!  I was woken up around 5.15am by howling winds and heavy rain. At that time of the morning there's just no point in trying to go back to sleep so, as I usually do on mornings when I wake early, I got up to have a cup of tea.  Sir Jasper (the rabbit-killer) was asking to go out so I opened up the back door and we were both greeted by a torrent of rain.  This happened about 4 times in the space of half an hour.  It not that I'm losing my memory, just that Jasper tends to lose the ability to use his own cat flap if there's anyone in the house that could open the door for him; even if his legs, and eyes, are crossed! But each time the door was opened he took one look at the rain and turned tail back into the kitchen.  I suspect I'm not alone amongst cat owners in this ritual.

My brain still didn't examine the evidence before it - not until I'd gone through the morning routine and was in my car going down the road and saw the traffic queue ahead.  Not the rail crossing barriers down at this time of the morning surely? It was 10 minutes too early. Then I began to spot the debris on the road and several cars ahead were turning round and coming back the other way.................ah, maybe it was something to do with the high winds and torrential rain we'd had in the night.  Tuning to the local radio station confirmed my suspicion (hello Brain, finally awake I see!).  Floods, mudslides, fallen walls/trees, debris (both floating and non-floating), stranded vehicles, people trapped in houses and in cars.....mainly the areas of St. Blazey, Lostwithiel, St. Austell, Par and Luxulyan.  Basically, all around where I live. Even the trains were affected, both branch and main lines closed due to landslides or, in the case of a local branch line, a storage tanker had washed on to the railway line!  I'm sorry? had I missed the announcement about the impending Cornish Apocalypse?!!

I promptly turned the car around and attempted to get to work via another route.  To shorten this entry, I'll just say it was a FAILED attempt involving numerous texts and calls from caring family and friends, Asda, a dead car battery, a friend to the rescue and a repeat of the journey, in the opposite direction, back home.

After a greatly desired and enjoyable cup of tea I took a walk down the road (in my wellies, just in case!) to look at the damage. I had to take some photos of the scene; I felt it was important to keep a reminder of what nature can throw at us when we're not prepared for it.  These photos were taken several hours after the initial flood, after the fire engines had left and most of the traffic dispersed.......

We faired better than Lostwithiel and Mevagissey as I discovered when I checked the BBC Cornwall website .  I've been in touch with friends in both locations and fortunately they and their homes are safe. I'm one of the lucky ones; I can sit here tonight by my own fire in the comfort of my own home.  Others have been less fortunate.  Taken in by neighbours, families and friends they are most likely spending their evening contemplating the enormity of the tasks ahead of them tomorrow. And they're forcasting more rain tonight; not as much as last night apparently but still - it won't be welcomed in this area.  For once I won't be saying my usual wet weather comment..."It's good for the garden".


Envirobitch said...

Aw... you missed the firemen!

Sensory Dragon said...

Unfortunately I was in Asda with a flat battery at that point! But had help from Stuart who was in the area thankfully.

bowledover said...

Hey there Sensory Dragon we are glad that you are safe and well.
Nature is so powerful, our thoughts are with the folk left with damage and heart ache.
Jasper sounds a pedigree rabbit catcher. Great company though, even if he has you on a bit of string.
I am told a good move in wet areas, is to have a pile of bricks near by.
What can not be moved upstairs, can be raised in height by the bricks, to keep it out of water.
A friends Grand piano was saved this way.

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Bowledover, thanks for your kind thoughts. Yes I'm grateful to be one of the lucky ones around here. I'm above any flood plains and not close to any of the nearby rivers. My friends in Mevagissey had 4-5ft of water in their shops, cafes and homes; I really feel for them. At least no-one was injured. It's going to be some time before they get everything back to normal. I hope they have a good tourist season next year - that would help!

Claire said...

Must be heartbreaking to face all that damage. Glad you escaped the worst of it.