I'm sure there is a book or two in our flood adventures. Importantly everyone is OK, safe, dry and warm. I'm in no position (being from a sailing family) to express surprise about the power of the rivers, seas and tides!
I can tell you what I saw...I think the guinea pigs saw some of it too. I wonder what they did see?
We had a note through the door telling us we needed to evacuate so we did put lots of things up high. I suppose the most precious things we have are really books and they are the things we stacked up high. We still hoped that the water wouldn't come too far up our way though because we're all optimistic I think.
We prepared Tom the big green truck with clothes and food and parked him up in the pub car park at the top of the slope just in case. Again, I don't think we thought the water would reach up all that way and decided that we would go if we saw the water coming but probably not at 6 pm - the time it said on the piece of paper.
We watched the weather all night, watched tweets, watched online, saw the surge hit the North Norfolk coast, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft. Then watched the news filter through about Mandela. I fell asleep in my clothes with D succumbing to closing his eyes shortly afterwards having stood in a dry road at 2.15pm. I think I must have subconsciously heard the rumble of water that other people actually heard and spoke about afterwards because I woke at about 2.45 and couldn't switch the light on. I think I already knew! I looked out and we were surrounded by water-the moon was reflecting on it all around right as far as the eye could see (well I was having trouble seeing as I needed my glasses). I think I was half hoping my eye sight was failing especially when I told D what I had seen and he just couldn't believe it-there had been nothing just a short time ago.
We shot up, gathered towels and came downstairs to find Robbie dog in his basket floating, looking v worried. When we looked out of the back the water was half way up the door. It was already in the house. We sloshed through to the front where D could see the water about 3 ft outside but trickling in. My mouth had already gone completely dry (like when you have an interview but x100) and we braced ourselves for opening the door. We had, after all, decided to stay put and knew we wanted to get to higher ground and Tom so it was our decision to walk out. We took a confused dog by his collar, our towels and waded across very cold water having managed to shut the door.
It was frightening-genuinely frightening. I don't think I've felt like that since Poppy was born. Think I've been very lucky actually. So I think, when we looked back at the road about half an hour later and our little crossing was clear we were relieved that the water was obviously subsiding and grateful that we were OK. However, when we walked across to Tom we didn't really know whether the water was coming up further at that point as the road was cover completely with 3 ft or so. Lovely Inga at the pub found a spare pair of wellies and made us a cuppa. We spoke about climbing over the fences above the pub if we needed to....bit worried that people would think we were burglars! I have dressed up as Burglar Bill before but never re enacted it. And bit worried that wouldn't be able to actually scale said fences having always been a total galumph!
I don't think any of us wanted to go to sleep so we sat in the pub at about 4 in the morning with the dog and a fire and a whiskey. The water had reached the pub's front room. Managed to go back into the house once we saw that little pathway and, on entering could barely believe that we'd walked out into such a torrent. The water in the hall had all but disappeared back into the brick tiles but bit sloshy across into the garage. I wanted to turn the electric off as that was something advised on this evacuation leaflet. I did manage in the end (we only had 1 pair of wellies as D's were swimming round the garage of their own accord!) but had to push the chest freezer out of the way because it had been thrown across the door by the force of the wave. Got up the ladder to the electric through the watery garage where everything had been in a whirlpool. Phew.
Back out and across but saw lights and what appeared to be policeman across the water. I'm alright I said (though I wasn't sure everyone was, it was dark, I had no idea who was still in their houses and that was a big concern) waving my torch. They said they couldn't come across because they didn't have wellies! And we didn't see anyone else at all again!!
Back to the pub table where Robbie dog had gone missing. Back out into the dark fearing he'd been so frightened he'd run away but got a call from Inga who found him in the ladies!! He'd pushed the door with his snout but couldn't back in...double trauma for the dog.
Think we had about an hour's kip and then awoke to a new vista....the river meeting our gardens and water blocking both sides of the road. Poor poor folk who had slept through it and found out in the morning including lovely Iris and Neville (83) who Inga had tried to wake up by knocking on their door and I'd been phoning at 3 in the morning but they are very sound sleepers! Then the picture became clearer and we realised the force of the water and what had really happened....it was in the form of a wave, not a flood that gently rose up the road. It had knocked down our wall and made a crack in the pavement, thrown equipment around houses and ripped out sockets, taken items back down the garden with it just like a wave does on the beach as you feel your toes being dragged through the sand. Wow-the power of nature and phew we were all OK.
But the guinea pigs I hear you say.... They were chocked up on a garden bench (thank goodness I didn't put them on my first choice which was the chest freezer!!!) and must have witnessed the whole whirlpool wave in action, records, books, bikes being tossed around and then the wave retreating from whence it came-well almost by now with the help of industrial pumps I stepped over on my jog this morning. So I am SURE there is a picture/storybook or two about their adventures. What if they had paddled off on the top of some vessel found floating in the garage, off to adventures a new? I'm just glad we didn't find out whether they could swim or not because I fear it would be OR NOT. They are happily living chez mum and dads' along with one much drier dog who has no loos that open in that way there so will not be further traumatised! (please RSPCA we assure you no animals were hurt in the making of this drama).
BUT I DO WONDER WHAT THEY SAW THAT NIGHT.....SQUEAK SQUEAK