Thursday, July 26, 2007

On the island of the Forest of Dean


Shhhhh..... in a rare moment in rain soaked summer holidays of not being needed by anyone to do anything, I've sneaked in to the computer room early enough for it not to be inhabited by teenagers or younger.

It's been an interesting few days......

ED and Sensible went to school on Friday morning. Both were finishing school for the summer at lunchtime.

Hubby left for work at around 8.30 a.m.

ED had planned to go out for the afternoon and bring some friends back later on as part of a birthday celebration. Sensible had planned to spend a caffeine filled afternoon in Starbucks with friends. ESOS, Gymnast and Tinkerbell Mushroom were at home, having already broken up from school.

All were expected home early Friday evening.

Then the rain started.

By the time the roads were seriously flooded and Sensible was on the bus home and ED changed her plans to stay overnight in Gloucester, Hubby, who had left work early so as to hopefully get home, was bravely facing the Malvern waters in seriously old car, only to be stopped by said waters with Noah's Ark style force. The only problem was that unlike Noah's Ark, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Old Car" did not look after him until safely home. Instead it stopped, dramatically, a few miles out of Malvern.

He had been on the road for three hours by this time and had gone no further than a couple of miles. His persisitence had only been so apparent due to Sensible being stuck on the bus out of Gloucester and looking as if she might be in for an overnight stay on a public bus.

Meanwhile I was stuck in the Forest of Dean, which often very nearly an island in its own right, actually became one, as all waters from all sides engulfed us with good measure.

Suddenly Gloucestershire, as far away from sea as you often get in England, was, to all intents and purposes, an island.

The only problem was, that Hubby was on one island in Malvern, Sensible and ED were on another island in Gloucester and we were on a third one in the Forest of Dean.

Looking bedraggled and seriously in need of kind charity, some lovely people took pity on Hubby and took him in for the night. The RAC who were off rescuing fifty thousand other cars
too weren't able to get to Hubby for a few hours.

Sensible walked in to the house 11.15 p.m. Amazingly, despite having sat on a bus for seven hours, having got off the bus a couple of times to use loos in people's houses and run back to the bus to get back on it again, despite having had no food in this time, she walked in as if she had just come home from school on the bus as normal....

Where did she get those genes?

Meanwhile, on the other end of the sensible or not teenage spectrum, ESOS still wanted to go and get Harry Potter from Waterstones’ at Midnight, in Gloucester…

"Mum, the roads are obviously clear enough to get through to Gloucester now", he said. Sensible got through."

It had been a planned event..... And he looked so sad...... And it had been a horrible few hours worrying about everyone.....

"I'll try" I said, as we piled into the car, knowing that the chances of getting more than four miles down the road were seriously unlikely.

Ten minutes later we turned back into our drive. The only problem was that as went to turn off the road, half on, half off, the car "cut out". With a dodgy fuel gauge and a tendency to run out of battery every so often, the combination does leave a little to be desired sometimes in automobile technology.........

Sensible, ESOS and I managed to push big heavy bus onto the drive, just inside the gates.

ESOS, being fourteen, was still disappointed about the excursion to fetch Harry P...

Now don't get me wrong, I had some sympathy, but it was wearing................ thinnish shall we say?

Next morning Hubby phoned the RAC again. "Call back at 2 p.m." they said.

2 p.m. "Sorry, it's going to be Tuesday before we can rescue you. Can you leave your car there, and we'll collect it and deliver it to your local garage?"

Having just got my car going again, by means of a petrol can, a jump start off ED's mini (Sitting on drive awaiting her driving lessons) and ESOS, who having got over the Harry crisis, seemed to be more knowledgeable about car engines than me, I went out. Braving the waters of Gloucestershire and Malvern, to nobly rescue Hubby, I took Gymnast and Tinkerbell Mushroom with me.

Half way along the route, the car stopped. Thinking that it was the same age old problem of needing jump leads again, I flagged down a passing motorist.

It didn't go.

I called Hubby whose saintlike strangers who had taken him in for the night gave him a lift to where I was. We tried to jump start it again. We called the RAC. Small children in the car. Half an hour they promised.

Said Goodbye to the Saint and waited.

A few people came by. Each one helped to try to jump start it. No chance. Car was clearly hot. Hubby tried clever things involving puddle water and stuff to replenish the parts that needed refreshment. No joy.

Four hours went by. I Spy, Number plate games and all the imaginable word games in the universe had run out....

As had the water. It had gone in the car along with some puddle water.

We were considering drinking the puddles.....

As it costs a second mortgage to call the RAC on a mobile phone (will someone PLEASE tell these people that we need a landline to call? It is ONLY the phone companies who are benefitting from the 0800 numbers) we called ESOS, who rang again. Eventually, after much persistence on his part, they rang me. "Sorry", they said. It will be another 8 hours or so at least. Can you make your own way home?"

Called friend (Headless Chicken's Husband), who performed a Knight in Shining armour rescue and got us home.

10.30 p.m. Saturday evening we arrived home, 38 hours after hubby had left for work the previous morning.

ED finally got home on Sunday, with our Harry Potter books. Meanwhile, seizing a very rare clear road moment and a willing friend's mother who came to collect her, Sensible had gone again... party at a friends house. Re-emerged four days later, having got through more floods with friend's mother this time.......

We did get a letter from the RAC today though.

Apologising for any inconvenience.

Will make sure that I tell them about the 0800 number nonsense though. Grumble, grumble.........

p.s. Other than losing two cars, and a few hours of worry, we haven't done too badly in all this really. The house is up high and our children are all safe....

There have been some real horror stories with all this weather. We do count our blessings.

24 comments:

Ignorminious said...

Glad to hear everyone is safe. Have been keeping an eye on the news and it seems you got very lucky indeed. I think I'll buy all my future houses on hills, as it's clearly the safest option. Do you still have water and electricity? Well, obviously the electric, otherwise you wouldn't be writing. Let's hope it all calms down now...

Asha said...

I heard about the flooding too! Its terrible.Glad you are all okay!:)
It flooded in Texas too.
Sensible sounds very sensible to me.Yeah! Where did she get it from?;D

Alice Band said...

Holy Shamoly Sally. The invitation still stands.

Akelamalu said...

I am thanking my lucky stars we live where we live - no floods. Good to hear you are all safe and well.

john.g. said...

Can you please turn this into a film? I reckon it would rival Indiana Jones!

Glad you're all ok!

Who's Harry? Is he staying with you? Or is he ED's new BF?

headless chicken said...

So,the usual chaos then Sally?! I do love to read your posts as they make my day to day life seem not quite so hectic! Well, what do we expect with so many people to worry about?!!!:)
Btw, must get Gymnasts roller-boots back asap.....excuse for a coffee and a natter?

ChrisB said...

I have been wondering about you all, read on headless c. about fetching your hubby. Glad you are all safe but the situation (as seen on TV) is pretty dire- it's going to take a while for things to return to normal.

Beccy said...

I too have been thinking about you as I watch the news. I'm glad you all survived the terrible flooding and I hope things return to nromal sooner rather than later.

enidd said...

whew, sally, that's one english summer enidd's not sorry to have missed.

Pamela said...

this is awful. stay home. hope you have lots of food in your cupboards.

Lisa said...

Glad you are all ok, Sally, as you said, the cars are a small price to pay.
Seems like the kids just rolled along, but I'm sure you were a bit breathless for a while.
Take Care!

The very nice man said...

Yeah, Sally, tell me about it!! Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! Luckily there is always Whisky!!

Anonymous said...

Mortgage? Only 10p per minute - cheaper than calling a landline once your minutes are used up.

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Ig! Let's hope so!!
Asha - Indeed where did she?
Alice - Thank you! We are planning on visiting my MIL in Devon later in August. Fancy meeting up?
Ak - Thank you!
John - Who would pplay my part? Or can I play me do you think?
HC - Anytime for coffee!
Chris - I know. Some people are going to be without water for a while. And the smell of houses that have been flooded. It's awful for them.
Beccy - Thank you!
Enidd - You are well out of it!
Pamela - We certainly will for a few days more!
Lisa - I agree. Just a bit of metal.
VNM - Or wine!
Anon - As we were hanging onto the hold music on the phone for 30 mins a time and it took at least 8 calls over the weekend to get some sense, I'm not so sure that it is completely insignificant!

pierre l said...

Well it's good to know that your family and your house are OK after all that excitement. Are things starting to become normal yet?

Sally Lomax said...

p.s. Little Gymnast has started her own blog!

See:

www.little-gymnast.blogspot.com

Sally Lomax said...

Thank you Pierre. Yes they are indeed!

john.g. said...

Sally, you can play you, wouldn't have anyone else!!

Sally Lomax said...

Thanks John!!

Karmyn R said...

OH NO!!! What a horrible couple of days for you.

The only side note is - in the new Harry Potter book, they are in the Forest of Dean for a little bit - and no, that wasn't a spoiler for you.

Sally Lomax said...

Hi Karmyn!

Yes indeed....

I wonder if she put us in because in fact she (JK) was brought up in the Forest of Dean....

mcewen said...

I hear you [we spent 20 in Poole during the floods and rain for our annual holiday] so I suppose we're even luckier because we were able to come back to sunshine.
Best wishes

Ailsa said...

I too had wondered how you were getting on. Glad to hear you are all safe. Despite the cost aren't mobile phones a god send in this kind of situation.

Hope the weather gets better soon. Have a great summer.

ED :-) said...

to john G: HARRY POTTER of course!