Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I interrupt happy travel tales of Japan with a natural disaster.
 On Friday it rained and rained and rained. There has been a lot of it lately so it didn't seem unusual. Kate at Dynamite opposite put her sandbags out just in case. That wasn't that unusual either. At seven thirty the haunting flood sirens went off filling the evening with melancholy and unrest. And then the waters came. First it filled the gutters and before long it covered the road. 

Then it began to cover the pavements and lap uncomfortably at doorsteps. It didn't stop the crazy car drivers and every passing vehicle caused a tidal wave into the shop doorways. ARGHHHH. It continued to rain and for four hours the waters rose and rose. Sandbags washed away. Logs and debris floated past and the flood reached the level of these shop windows. 

By about 11.30 it had crept up my five steps and was lapping at my front door. It makes me really emotional to think about this time. It was eerie. The electric was out and I was standing in the bay window in the dark, helpless, looking out at this brown river that had caused my street so much destruction. We watched Sarah and Helen from Spirals shop wade passed up to their waists looking totally stunned. They couldn't hold the waters back from their beautiful shop. 

We elevated all our stock and once the rain had stopped and we could see that the level was going down and not up we went to bed. 

In the morning all the water had gone but had left thick mud and destruction in it's wake. Radiance had been saved by being up high, and for that I am extremely thankful but all the other shops around it had been hit badly. What a day we had. Terribly sad seeing all my fellow businesses and friends suffering but extremely heart warming to see a whole town pulling together and really caring about each other. So many people came out to help. Beate from Makepiece (also missed by the waters) brought her industrial pressure washer and power washed like a loon from dawn til dusk. The whole town cleared and cleaned and saved whatever we could. 

The spirit and humour in adversity was astounding. At the end of the day Yorkshire Soap put the Queen back in their window with a mop and bucket and rubber gloves to say thankyou for all their help and the next day had a sale which raised £850 for flood victims.

(photo by Rebecca Land-Cave)
and the Bookcase who were badly hit found the time and mustered up the creativity to make an inspired window display of soggy books! Genius.

(photo by Rebecca Land-Cave)
I bloody love this town. Some businesses have turned things around already and are back open again. For others there is a lot more work to do but I'm sure that with a community like this one we will be back on our feet in no time at all.  


Mel said...

Brilliant blog Hannah.

A fine example of camararderie and human spirit.

Looking forward to visiting Hebdon Bridge soon.

H is for Home said...

The flood has reminded us what a wonderful community spirit there is here on Rochdale Road, and in Todmorden as a whole! Everyone's rallied round with mops, hoses, tools, manpower and words of support.

The online/virtual response has been amazing as well - Twitter, Facebook, emails, phone calls and texts - they all help make a terrible situation that little bit more bearable.

Hope our little valley gets back to normal soon - it's definitely made us all stronger & closer!

Claire donnelly said...

What a fantastic post. And one that says it all.

Unknown said...

Vivid description, Hannah. It sounds so scary, the sirens, the darkness and the rising water. Best wishes to Hebden for a speedy recovery and how wonderful to have that strong sense of community pulling together.

Selina Gough said...

Great to discover another local blogger and great to get the perspective from Market street. It all feels so bewildering. I hope that your fellow businesses are up and running soon and that you can all get some peace. My blog post on the floods here: http://themuckyroot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sun-and-rain.html

Homeleigh Vintage said...

Hi Hannah,
I heard about the floods and your post really does show how the whole community came together. It must have been devastating for all the shops affected by this.

It shows what a strong community you are.

I'm sure you'll look back at this, and in some way now become stronger and with support from everyone the businesses will just grow and grow.
Tracey Leigh.

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