I did not post yesterday – my excuse is that we were in Cumbria. I decided that we needed a night away from Christmas gluttony and laziness. My family greeted the news with sarcastic delight; I am really good at booking holidays. They usually end up with us getting buffeted and blown almost (but not quite) off the end of the earth, and this Boxing Day was no exception.
I booked a B and B in Cumbria. Apparently it is not ‘just down the road’ as it appeared to be on the map. After 3 hours driving, we arrived at the hotel, which overlooked a beach. (well, it was an estuary and it was NOT radioactive as my husband said, despite being close to Sellafield…if you grew up in the UK in the 1980s this name is familiar for the news reports of a nuclear leak…). We walked along the windswept estuary, our feet falling on moss which was possibly a little greener than normal? I saw a side to my daughter, my Rose Petal, which I rarely see. Computer and phone cast aside, with no danger of being spotted by anyone she might know, she ran and ran across the beach at the mere sight of a boat, beached on the sandy shore, following my stepson, my Bud (dy), in jumping across rivulets of water, slipping on mud and shrieking with laughter, rushing up a reedy hill just to see what was on the other side…This was one of those moments of happiness that I would like to put in a bottle and preserve.
Darkness fell and caught short this exploration of a fascinating (but freezing) world. We ate, the kids got into their onesies, and we retired to bed (we had two rooms, segregated into me and daughter, he and son, as our self-conscious teenagers now object to sharing a room), After a cold and blustery night spent listening to the wind wuthering around the window, sending puffs of freezing cold air into the rooms, me and Rose Petal were awoken in the back room by a knock on the door. It was 8am, the world still obscured by darkness. I heard a female voice out in the ‘boys’ room, my husband acquiescing loudly. I sent my daughter out to investigate.
‘There’s no electricity because of the wind and we’re getting candles,’ she said as she returned, disappearing under the covers with her phone ‘oh and no water either.’
I followed suit and disappeared under the covers.
We emerged later to find that there was indeed no electricity and with no sunlight, the hotel was dark and gloomy even at 10am. We could hear the approach of the waiter, by the whirr of his battery operated torch, which he wound compulsively as if terrified he would be left in darkness.
‘There is fruit juice and cereal,’ he told us, illuminating each item with the thin, precise beam of light given by his torch as he pointed them out ‘We have bacon sandwiches and coffee as well.’
We breakfasted well, by candlelight, and then we went to the beach and we ran and ran against the wind, which apparently reached 100 miles per hour.
After this we considered our options. There appeared to be no power in all of the valley, and possibly the inhabitants were preoccupied with other matters than our comfort…We drove home, through wind and rain, across mountain and moor, my long suffering husband peering through the windscreen and only occasionally swearing at other drivers.
We are home now. Warm and dry. Lucky.
Traumatised. But in a First World way (ie, not really) and for some reason I find myself thinking of the victims of the typhoon….