Sunday, 22 July 2007

Rain, rain, go a-bloody-way

We've had Ali's folks up to stay this weekend - they all went out on a walk yesterday afternoon giving me a small moment to start this blog post in peace. It wasn't the most perfect weekend by a long chalk, and that's nothing to do with anything bad that's happened or us or them having a particularly shit time, but purely and simply because of the rubbish weather. They arrived on Thursday afternoon while I was long range planning in Cookham. When I got home at 7.30ish that evening all seemed well, we ate lasagne, caught up, admired Liam's gappy mouth and wobbly tooth, and had an early night.

Next morning the heavens opened. I drove to Cookham via the M40 and my word it was bad. Maniacs driving at 90mph in the middle lane causing wayyy more spray than was safe, windscreen wipers in a sort of panicky overdrive, thunder and lightning all round, my hands gripping the wheel in sheer terror. Still, I made it in OK, only to hear tales from folk who had been to the office in Maidenhead and seen flood water swirling round all over the place. Apparently someone saw a dead rat floating in the flood waters too. Nice. Leaving at 1pm the weather wasn't too bad at all, and I had high hopes of getting home at 2.30pm, and having the place to myself for a few hours (the Brown clan were planning to spend the day at Legoland). So I left the M40 at Junction 7 thinking I would cut across country and go back to Abingdon that way. BIG MISTAKE. Just as I came out of Chislehampton, the Polo took a drive through a mini lake that the flood waters had left in a dip in the road. My immediate thoughts were along the lines of 'uh-oh' as the Polo is a good 10 years old and hasn't been on tip-top form recently. Still, as I chugged along, things seemed to be going OK, until I got to a hill. Coughing and juddering, the car eventually just cut out. On the incline. On a blind corner. And me with no mobile phone.* Yikes.

A lovely white van driver was directly behind me, however, and instead of making a rude gesture and swearing at the incompetence of women drivers, he stopped, put on a flourescent jacket, and bless him, said he would give me a push to a gateway further up the hill. Even more luckily, a police car came by and a nice policeman allowed me to use his mobile to call Green Flag. 45 minutes later a recovery truck came along, did some tweaking in the engine (not sure exactly what but it did the job) and I was on my way home. Legoland hadn't been an option due to the appalling weather, so everyone was mooching about the house. Still, at least it meant I could go along as the trip was rescheduled for Saturday - hurray!

In the end, it was a good day on Saturday, albeit very wet in the afternoon. A car journey home with clammy wet jeans is not a nice experience. We all pigged out on fish and chips from the chippy round the corner and then felt so bloated and fat that everyone had an early night. All seemed well in the world.

And then we got up on Sunday morning, or to be more accurate, Liam got up at about 6.30am and started shouting 'there's a flood, it's flooded, look at the water!!!' at the top of his voice. The whole of the bottom of Spring Road was flooded (see for pictures etc) but as we are slightly set back from the road and have 2 steps before you reach our front door, the water didn't come in. The houses with front doors directly onto the pavement got the worst of it, and of course nobody came dishing out sandbags until after the flood waters had gone down. The waters are meant to rise again tonight, as the Thames surges at Oxford and causes the River Ock (a tributary) to flood.

All of which meant that yesterday was a very cooped up day, especially for poor Liam. Ali and I waded through the waters to get to Waitrose; they went for a walk yesterday afternoon; and in the evening we made jelly and fairy cakes and cooked roast beef with yorkshire puds. As there are currently no trains running between Reading and Birmingham, the family had to book tickets on a National Express coach for this morning to enable them to get their train on time, which luckily they did. All in all, a very wet weekend. I haven't even started reading the new Harry Potter yet!

*I cannot describe the absolute incompetence and lack of customer focus of Vodafone without getting far too worked up and angry...


Anonymous said...

oh my kathryn! i was wondering about you and the snow! i texted you. has the phone gone kaput permanently? anyway i texted you to sya that three months to the day i left i had a meeting on friday at brook green. very very odd. i didn't know what side i was on some times. xxx

Anonymous said...

SNOW??? i meant rain. (mark by the way) xxx

howsoonisnow said...

Good grief! Did think about you out there in the provinces with all that rain... glad you escaped *actual* inundation, albeit narrowly. Weather ensured a mildly alarming approach to Heathrow on Thursday and a comically flooded office the previous week, that's about the net effect it's had on me. Dublin is quite well-drained, apparently!