I had been mulling over several topics for my one hundredth blog post, but in the end Storm Babet made the decision for me.
The storm was forecast for several days, so I ensured I had enough bedding in the stable as I planned to bring Diva (Melland Queen of Scots) and Mabel into the stable on the Thursday night. Our region was forecast to have prolonged, heavy rain and not the winds people suffered further north.
By the time I brought the girls into the stable the rain had started, but it wasn’t too bad. I left them happily eating hay and headed off to work. During the day the rain increased to a torrential rate and just did not stop.
Reports started coming in about roads being flooded locally, but for some reason alarm bells never started to ring, and I even stayed a little late at work when in hindsight I should have left early. I had taken Flora home at lunchtime as, it being such heavy rain, I thought she would be happier curled up there rather than with me.
The journey home wasn’t a problem. The roads had some surface water on them but nothing deep. I passed my house and went down the hill to get to the yard. There is a stream at the bottom of the hill and so I expected some water on the road. What I didn’t expect was to see a car abandoned in the middle of a flood.
As I know the road well, I was able to back up to a safe place to turn around. What I should have done then was to call the yard owners to ask if they would give Diva and Mabel their hay and top up their water. What I did was try to find an alternative route to the yard. I went to go through a different village, only to find the road closed. I then put a shout out on the yard WhatsApp group asking about the state of the road. Colin, the yard owner, told me a route he had gone through in his car 10 minutes earlier, so with a little trepidation I set off. In the pitch dark the water looked deep and was fast-flowing, but reversing from here would not have been easy. Knowing my little 4x4 was higher than Colin’s car, I slowly eased my way through.
I was just having a little celebration when my headlights picked out another flood over the road. I didn’t dare try to turn around or reverse through the first flood so, with my heart in my mouth I, extremely slowly, drove through. The water was up to my doors and I could feel the tug of the current. I was so relieved to get through and see the rest of the way to the yard was clear.
With the horses done, I then had the worry about getting home, as whatever way I went I had to go into a valley and back up again. I called Craig, a friend who is a volunteer in a 4x4 rescue team, thinking that he could give me the best route home. He could tell I was a bit panicked at this stage and, bless him, he came out in his big truck. Having gone through the flood at the bottom of the hill from where I live, he knew I could get through. I followed him through some fast-flowing and pretty deep water, passing the abandoned car and driving up the hill to my house. What a relief.
It could have been a different story, though. So, if it ever happens again, I think a call to the yard owners for a favour would be prudent!