You may have noticed that for the last 4 weeks, I’ve not posted anything on the blog. If you follow my Twitter feed, you may have picked up that I’ve been incredibly busy at work. Usually during the two weeks before Christmas, we’re tidying up loose ends and preparing to leave our workload in a reasonable state for a fortnight’s Christmas holiday. I’m sure this is similar in most offices around the country. But this year, we had a totally different experience…
On the 5th December, we travelled on the train up to Edinburgh for the day – as we had planned. We knew that there was some pretty miserable weather forecast, but neither of us realised the extent to which our beautiful county of Cumbria would be affected. We arrived in Edinburgh, enjoyed a live performance of Stick Man and the Christmas Markets whilst keeping an eye on the weather and Network Rail website, and made our way back to the train station early to see if we could get home. Hoorah! There was a train due to go back to Carlisle… Boo… It was “indefinitely delayed” and we were stuck there. Stress levels increased as we tried frantically to book a hotel room to stay in for the night, hoping we’d be able to travel home the following morning.
There were mix-up’s with the room bookings, tears in Hotel Receptions, manic purchasing of underwear, toiletries and sandwiches, before we eventually were curled up in a hotel room 6 miles outside the city centre. Stress levels were high which meant I barely slept. Thankfully, O thought of it as an adventurous holiday and loved every minute – blissfully unaware of the devastation our neighbours were experiencing back home.
The following day, there was no change to the travel situation and all trains were cancelled. We booked another night in a cheaper hotel straightaway so that we could at least try to enjoy our day a bit more. We visited Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish National Museum, which O loved! We checked in at our second hotel and even saw the Virgin Money Street of Light on Sunday evening. We managed to get a train to Glasgow on the Monday morning where my amazing Father-in-Law came to pick us up and drive us home.
Listening to the radio on the way back down the motorway, it was sinking in just how bad it was. It was national news. Thankfully, we made it back home (eventually) and got sorted for heading back to work a day late on Tuesday. Luckily, our property was unaffected as we’re fairly high up from the river. Those who have been flooded out of their homes and businesses need our support, and donations can be sent to the Cumbria Community Foundation where affected residents can access them appropriately.
Over the course of the fortnight that followed, until breaking for Christmas, I worked 10 and 11 hour days to help pull together to improve the situation for those affected. Amongst these 50+ hour weeks, I still had Christmas presents left to buy, cards to send, house renovations to organise and finish off, decorations to put up, and our Christmas food shop to arrange. Not to mention a whole house that needed re-organised and scrubbed clean from top to bottom. Oh, and midwife appointments, consultant appointments and O’s first school nativity to fit in there too.
As you can probably imagine, all of this hasn’t left a lot of time to look after the blog and all the emails that come with it. I can only apologise to those who have needed responses quickly, or to those whose deadlines I’ve been unable to meet, due to the reasons above. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. And Storm Desmond, Eva and, currently, Frank. All residents of Cumbria have their fingers and toes crossed that things do not continue to get worse. My thoughts continue to be with those affected here in Cumbria, and now elsewhere in Lancashire and Yorkshire.