We’d had no sleep. I was so worried about my cat and what I would find at home. My brother in law dropped us back off home on his way to work. I was dreading opening that front door. The street was quiet and all the flood gates were still up. The water had almost totally disappeared from the road that had only a few hours earlier been a raging torrent.
I was expecting to walk into at least three feet of water, but there was now just inches deep puddles everywhere. A brown and black sludge now covered every single surface on the ground floor. The water had receded.
I ran upstairs shouting for my cat Cagney. She was sat on the landing looking over at me. I cried with joy. She was safe and well. She’d obviously hidden somewhere upstairs during the chaos and in the dark we hadn’t been able to find her.
Although it was very messy, I was very relieved, I had found Cagney and my house although quite damaged wasn’t still under water.
I went outside and into the woodland to check and feed my hens, quails, rabbits and rams. They were all completely fine and totally oblivious to what had happened.
The next task was to go and pick up my animals from Trish. I knocked on the door and could see through the front windows my Susie cat peering through the window. Trish welcomed us in. It was unbelievable she had been sat comforting my animals most of the night. She’d even managed to source a rabbit cage from a kind neighbour to put Fonzie in. As I put my animals into their carry cases the cats hissed….I think they wanted to stay.
We got back into the house. The electrics were damaged and unsafe to use. The house was freezing. We had nothing apart from luckily the old coal fire in the living room and the wood burning stove in the kitchen. I rang the insurance. They said they would send a clean up team straight away and try and sort an electrician. I declined their offer of a hotel as I stated I would accept nothing less than The Savoy and required rooms for my 28 animals. Obviously 😂 in reality it was because I couldn’t leave my animals. It was grim but worse things happen at sea as they say…but I think my home may actually have become the sea the night before.
Fair play to the insurance within three hours a restoration team had arrived. However, they couldn’t start work until the power had been restored and the electrician now couldn’t make it until the following morning.
My neighbours have been unbelievably fantastic. Dawn my neighbour who was also flooded came straight away and asked if we needed anything, considering she had her own mess to clean up! My friend from across the road Lou also came straight over bringing me food and making sure I was ok. Sometimes it takes events like this to realise how lucky we are to be surrounded by awesome people.
A little later in the day I heard a knock on the door. The local councillor had brought round hot food for everyone that had been provided by the East Cleveland good neighbours group and the very kind local loftus lounge. I was freezing and really hungry so this was a god send. Even later in the day the councillor came round and handed us all two bags of shopping each full of the most excellent quality food all donated. No one on the street had asked or expected help but it was given. The generosity of the local community made me cry. I’ve had so many offers of help from friends and family. It’s easy during these dark days of COVID to feel alone but I realised I truly wasn’t alone.
As the night went on the temperature in the house plummeted and we had no lights or boiler. I decided to go to my sister’s house. Mally was steadfast and wanted to stay in the house regardless. My sister and brother in law have been absolute superstars, helping bucketing out water and providing me with somewhere to stay.
My three year old niece saw this as a sleepover and demanded to share a room with me. I think I read every unicorn story known to man. She then decided to get up and rearrange her bedroom. When she said she needed the potty I used this as my chance and shouted my sister. My sister then said to my niece you can come into bed with me. Result. I love my niece but I was desperately tired. However tired I was I just couldn’t sleep. I was lucky though I was warm and in a warm house.
I went back home early the next day to await the electrician. Mally said it had been so dark and cold and he’d used my Yankee candles as lights. But complained saying they didn’t give off much light…..that’s not their primary purpose. Mally said it was strange going up to bed holding a candle. It was just like when the house was built in around 1760. We were going back in time, back to the original roots of the house.