By the Photographer’s Assistant
Lying in bed in the early morning with a thundering noise in the distance. The river in the lower valley is roaring and the stream in our garden is joining in. It is a rare night now when we can have a window open without the threat of it being damaged or stuff blowing around the room. Somehow, the sound is soothing, it roars on like some ancient lullaby.
There are no curtains at the window and the sky is quite simply beautiful. There is no real need to cover these windows, one of the joys of living on the Moor is the ever changing sky. At the moment despite its terrors it is black against a grey sky. Stars appear when the temperature drops. It is an incredible real work of nature’s art; that what can be so damaging can be utterly fascinating.
The Photographer has temporarily removed the filter gate from the weir on the stream. He and his neighbour cannot keep up with the amount of debris that has been passing through and the vegetable garden has been flooded. The Photographer and his Assistant and family are very dependent on the plot and it must not be washed away.
After tremendous storms including terrorising thunder claps and “under the duvet” type lightening, we manage to get the Dog convinced that he really would like to go for a long walk. We meet only those who must walk or jog. There is no one out there except those who think they can get away without the exercise. We have a couple of interesting conversations. The oldest member of our hamlet community has been taken out for a car ride and is deeply impressed by the depth of water everywhere. She has never seen the water so deep.
We meet a worker out with his tiny van, crammed with machinery, who will make a little hard won money by travelling to a village out along the main road. Trees have fallen over and he is needed to help move them.
The Boyfriend has been to work and returns up a side lane , which leads from the main road. The side lane is actually a major thoroughfare, and he has to stop abruptly when he sees an unexpected flood in front of him. He is astonished by the depth of water and beats a hasty retreat, but not before he has seen a taxi abandoned in the middle of the water, the poor owner has given up and the taxi looks strange just sitting in all that water. Some days later the taxi is gone and some locals really want to get through. The Photographer knows the water is now passable, he pilots a lady, who is trying to get to work, through. During the holidays, many intrepid friends and relatives have visited the little valley and most have been piloted around the water in a similar way. We have all been impressed by their keenness to visit. Never let it be said that our town dwelling friends have been reluctant to brave the elements.
Just when we thought it might all be over, we are woken by a gigantic flash of lightning and an enormous bang. The Photographer arises from the bed and cautiously looks out of the window. It was the sort of bang you would expect to have done some damage, but we have been lucky. We even still have a phone line and the electric. The kettle is put on and there is another enormous rumble. The Daughter, who lives in the little town below is terrified. When she lived in the Midlands she was subject to quite a large earthquake, which partially damaged her house and bangs now terrify her. The chimney to her rented home, has begun to leak and she is now frightened that there will be real damage to her small and much loved home. She remains on the phone as she climbs downstairs, but there is nothing but a full container of water by the fire, which has leaked down the chimney We are all relieved and brew tea and coffee in our respective homes.
It goes without saying that living on the nearby Somerset Levels is much more terrifying and we have all escaped fairly lightly on the area of the Moor in which we live, but this is simply how it was for us. Now, we just feel fortunate and give the elements even more respect.