Boxing Day Floods
Boxing Day Floods
The flood siren’s sounded at around 12am and then around 3am and again at 7am from memory on Boxing Day Morning. Whilst I was lying in bed I did not think that much of it and thought perhaps there was some overkill in the programming or whatever was causing the sirens to wail. I was quite surprised to look out of my bedroom window to our garden that back’s onto Hebden Water and see that the garden was full of water. Usually there was a small mill-race in the garden and an island in the middle rather than simply a mass of H2O.
Next door’s garden, which had been landscaped before the previous owners left, had a small wooden bridge over a stream that joined the mill-race in our garden. The handrail on the bridge could just be seen above the water level. Later, the handrail became submerged as the water level rose. Myself and my partner then decided to go out for a walk, we walked up at first and towrads Nutclough woods, the water was streaming from above into the recntly made barrow or holding tank in the woods that was fast filling up. The mass of water around above town was quite incredible.
We walked down Keighley road into Town, a local was walking up and stopped us and said “I have never seen anything like that in the 47 years I have been here, it’s terrible” and were greeted with a view of water, water everywhere and, unfortunately, into Silly Billy’s Toy Shop where I worked. The water was just below knee level in the shop and having ascertained that the power was off myself and M waded in to help Bill move stock.
After some time we decided there was no more that could really be achieved and it became apparent that a lot of stock had been lost to the flood water. We both went home and had showers, wading through the water and back over the bridge. Incredibly the mass of water in the river was just managing to flow under the road bridge and had reached a level just below the new conference rooms at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Only in far flung parts of the world in monsoon conditions and less built up areas had I ever witnessed such a swollen angry river.
It then transpired the enormity of what had happened. Hebden Bridge, ravaged by Floods in 2012 had again been beaten into submission by a mass of water.
The next day began a mass clear up all over Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley, much has been written already about the communities that came together and helped both business and individuals in their plight. Sikh and other Asian communities coming to help make food and lend a hand, Syrian refugees volunteering and so on. The Volunteers were tireless and the coordination amazing. It was this very next day that my children’s aunt rocked up at my house demanding to see my children. I had only nipped home to get a tarpaulin. As my Children’s grandmother (S’s mum) had chosen to come up to Hebden Bridge and visit S’s sister over Christmas there was some great consternation as to why my younger children did not want to visit them.
Great, there I was trying to help with Flood clear up and already in the midst of that devastation, a crazy woman (S’s sister) thought she had the right to start screaming and shouting in my house, bad mouthing me in front of my children. Here’s a quote “You bullied S to death !!”
Needless to say I thought long and hard about what to do about this and as I do not wish to have anything further to do with S’s side of the family who have been altogether not helpful in the 8 years plus that I have been single-handedly looking after our children. It strikes me that as S died in October 2008 and at that point Martha was 5 Years and Lachlann was 7 years old then now in January 2016 I have spent more time as a single parent with my two younger children than Sarah did.
It still to this day irritates me that S’s mother quite pointedly said to me during the wake held at S’s house, where my children and I now live, “now you will know how S feels”, making reference to the fact that S was looking after our children and I was seeing them at weekends plus paying S £600 per month at the time. Since S’s death no-one has been looking after my children at weekends and S’s family have only deigned to spend time with them when it has been convenient for them, never at any point when it has been convenient or required by me. In the early days, the first couple of years after S’s death it was unequivocally hard looking after three young children who were grieving.