It wasn't the Christmas we were expecting. We were away at my Mum and Dads having a lovely family time. The relentless rain outside kind of added to the cosiness. That was until Euan text me telling me the flood sirens had gone off at home. Our lovely Hebden Bridge was flooding again.
It was boxing day morning. A day where you chill out and read your new christmas book or eat more of your Mums trifle or go for a nice stroll to walk off the Christmas indulgence. There would be none of that. We tried to get home but even the roads in Burley in Wharfedale were like rivers. We had to stay put and helplessly watch from afar as friends and neighbours posted pictures of their houses and business filling up with the muddy brown river waters.
Radiance was very lucky to survive the floods of 2012. We have steps up to the shop and although it lapped at the very top one it didn't get in. But this time the river kept on rising way beyond the flood gates on peoples doors, way beyond the windowsills and right up to eye level in some places. There was no way Radiance had got away with it this time.
Our friend sent this picture so we knew we'd been hit. My landlady rang and said 'It's not good news I'm afraid...but I did save your upholstered chair'. Bless her.
We traveled home the next day to a scene of devastation across the whole town.
There were only a handful of business that didn't get flooded. So many homes were hit too.
It was a dismal sight. The roads were covered in silt and mud and everyone's ruined belongings were being piled up outside the shops.
But although it was overwhelming we HAD to stay positive. There was so much work to be done. And we had to do step by step. One wet, muddy thing at a time. So I vowed to try and see the silver lining. To look for the light instead of the dark.
We only had a couple of feet of water in so were were luckier than most.
We lost a lot of stock but we saved a lot too...lots of it was nicely hanging from the ceiling.
And as it became apparent that we had to remove every cupboard, counter, shelf and drawer in sight we decided to view it as a complete fresh start. A new beginning. A re-design. I'm lucky that I AM insured. I didn't flood last time you see. I may not be insured if it ever happens again.
And we had SO much help. You wouldn't believe the Hebden Bridge spirit. I had so many people coming through the door to offer their help. So many that I had to turn them away as we had too much help sometimes.
You saw the spirit of the place when you walked down the road. So many people came down from all sides of the valley with their brooms, their shovels and their smiles. They shifted the silt from the roads back into the river. They bailed out the cinema in the dark with their head torches on. They rescued children's violins from the infant school. They just did whatever they could. EVERYONE wanted to help. I'm speaking in past tense but it is still going on out there. Everyone is in this together and we are all help each other. It will take time to rise again, even more time than last flood but we absolutely will. I am blessed to be part of such a marvelous community.
We took all our good stock to the studio and today I rented the room next door to keep it in. So our web shop is very much OPEN for business. We need your support more than ever to keep us afloat. Our shop is being gutted and dried out and will have a complete re-fit in the coming weeks. Maybe we'll be open again by March? Let's hope for the best.
So many homes and businesses have been affected, many NOT insured at all. If you feel moved to make a donation to the flood relief and help get our very special little town back on it's feet you can do so here.
Thankyou for all your wishes and your warmth. It has been much appreciated and has kept our spirits up :)