December in the north of England has been the month of the flood. Until Boxing Day, it was Cumbria that saw all the action, with some communities flooded out not once, not twice, but three times. They were told to stand by for more on Boxing Day. They readied themselves…. and nothing happened, because the torrential rains prophesied swept south and east of them, firstly into Lancashire, and then Yorkshire
We were staying with my daughter’s family in that part of Greater Manchester that used to be in Lancashire. They live near a Nature Reserve through which Bradshaw Brook passes. I’d say ‘flows’, but such a phrase is normally far too active a description for this narrow little watercourse.
This was Bradshaw Brook yesterday.
We were due to travel home from their house to ours, in Yorkshire. Highways England, the BBC, and motoring organisations all had conflicting information on their websites. But they all agreed that our usual route, a scenic drive over the Pennines, was largely impassable.
It would have to be the motorway. Longer, duller, but surer. We’d not long been travelling when we noticed that traffic on the other carriageway was at a complete standstill, for miles…and miles. It was only when we got home that we found out that a 20′ sinkhole had opened up near Rochdale. So much for safer-by-motorway…..
Where to leave the motorway though, for the final few miles home? There were floods in Leeds, floods near Harrogate – there were sure to be floods in Boroughbridge too. What about Knaresborough? It turned out there were floods near there too, as we discovered when warning notices turned us back on the road we’d come on, and sent us back by several miles to look for another route. Familiar fields had turned into lakes, deep and almost unfordable road-side puddles were unavoidable.
We’re lucky. We were flood-tourists on our journey home, gawping at rivers-become-seas, and roads-become-rivers. Our home wasn’t flooded, nor will it be. Others aren’t so fortunate. They’re either contemplating the devastation of their own home or business – or both, or anxiously shoring up the front door with as many sandbags as they can lay their hands on, in anticipation of the days ahead, when the forecast continues to be grim. We could all do with a bit of an old-fashioned winter cold snap, with a touch of frost, but positively no rain.