On Saturday 5th December, my friend Eureka arrived from Jamaica. We had not seen each other for over 22 years!!
Can you imagine the anticipation and the excitement? She was not a social media convert .. thus the image of her I had was the one I had in my mind from 22 years ago…I made a dinner reservation at Novikov for a really fun girly night out…We met in the lobby of her hotel and it was lots of hugs and screams. Since I had a taxi waiting , we then hurried outside to get our ride. Dinner was really great and we tried our best to catch up on the last 22 years too!
After dinner,I invited her to Sunday lunch so we could spend some more time together in the privacy of my home.Since it was December, I decided to do an early Christmas lunch , complete with christmas crackers and Christmas pudding. So at about 11.00am, I went to the supermarket to purchase a few last minute ingredients before she arrived. While I was shopping the phone rang and I knew who it was because each of my children have a designated ring tone. Suddenly I heard my daughter saying…..Mum, we have no water, no electricity and no food. We had to queue for three hours to get something to eat!… everything in the shops have been sold out.. I feel like a refugee..
I listened to her in totally shock and disbelief. She was speaking very quickly because she only had 28% battery life remaining and was afraid of running out of battery completely. Slow down and explain the situation to me properly , I said. Can you get out? She said, mum they have told us to go home… All the local students from Manchester, Lancaster, Lancashire, Cumbria and surrounding areas have already left… They are going to evacuate the rest of us if we cannot get home..
At this point , I was desperately trying to process the information that she had just given me..I was trying to figure out what to do next..I said, don’t worry we will come and get you darling..She responded, mum you don’t understand , the village is completely flooded and all trains have been cancelled. At this point I became very worried , because we were 6 hours away from her by car and so we could not get to her quickly. Can you imagine how I felt?
I rushed home ,and put the television on… Storm Desmond had caused severe rainfall which blocked roads, collapsed bridges, flooded many homes in the north east and over 61,000 homes in the north west lost power when a sub-station was flooded. Students from two nearby universities were evacuated, teaching was cancelled and deadlines were postponed… The national rail declared a major disruption across the whole network in the north of England. Storm Desmond was devastating and destroying lives and homes ..
We tried to maintain contact with our daughter while trying to be the perfect host and hostess. Needless to say , our daughter’s eminent evacuation dominated the topic of conversation.. It was first and foremost in our minds and the revolving news report made it worse. Somehow, we manage to get through lunch! Suddenly she said, mum I have to go now, I have to save my battery because my computer is completely dead..
Shortly afterwards, she rang to say some coaches were going to Preston and she was going to run back to her room to pack all her books and some clothes and try to get the coach..About an hour later she text to say she did not manage to get onto any of coaches because there were so many students trying to leave. She said that she would have to sleep in a communal area with all those who were left. There were no blankets or mattresses and they all had to sleep on the floor.. My heart sank and I felt totally helpless. However, she was safe. I hardly slept at all on Sunday night. I was so worried about her.
Monday morning arrived and I rushed to check the message that had just arrived…Mum, I am on the coach to Preston and I have already booked my ticket to london Euston. I felt a hugh sense of relief. she was on her way home..At 9.30am my son rang from the office to say all trains from Preston were cancelled.. I panicked. oh no, she is already on her way to Preston… I began to ask questions I could not answer. Does she have any battery left? How am I going to get hold of her? I telephoned her and was really relieved when she answered. Darling, your brother said that all the trains from Preston have been cancelled…
She calmly replied,are you sure? I am at Preston now and many trains have been cancelled but a few are still running. My train is at 10.58am and will arrive at London Euston at 1.25pm. She was so composed and calm, you would never have believed that she was in the middle of the worst floods the area has ever seen. She arrived at Euston and I collected her. She was tired and hungry but finally on dry grounds and safe!
I gave her a big hug and held her close.I was so pleased to have her home and I was so proud of her too!!.. She was able to find her way home safely without any help from us! This filled me with pride and made me realised how strong and capable she was. My baby has truly flown the nest! She had the skills she needed to cope in very extreme situations and to stay calm too!