Tonight I need to digress a little from my usual interiors waffle to ask you to spare a thought for Cumbria this Christmas. I was fortunate enough to have some free time today so I spent the afternoon with a lovely lady called Liz walking around Cockermouth handing out hot drinks and food that had been donated locally to homeowners that had been flooded and tradespeople that were helping them clean up the mess. Now we’ve all been watching the news and reading the papers, but seeing the extent of the damage to peoples homes firsthand and hearing their stories makes you realise just how tough it is for them. I met singles that were couch surfing, couples that were living separately because friends or relatives could only put up one of them, and a family living on their first floor surrounded by everything they had been able to save before they were flooded, because they don’t want to rack up a big insurance claim and become uninsurable.
There is a lot of support locally of course. The church hall is filled with food and cleaning stuff that has been donated by supermarkets, businesses and local residents. And there are lots of volunteers offering help. But none of that makes up for the fact that most of these people won’t be spending Christmas at home this year. Those that had been through this before told me it took 6 months to get their homes back in order. 6 months. None of them were moaning or complaining though, that’s not the Cumbrian way, they were just getting on with it. Throwing out furniture, ripping up carpets and trying to get rid of the mud which is everywhere.
I also chatted to someone which made me realise there will be many that were not directly affected by the floods, but impacted still the same. This lady runs a cleaning business and gets most of her income from holiday lets. Some of her customers properties have been flooded so will be off the rental market for up to 6 months. Obviously this is terrible news for the property owners, but hopefully most will have insurance which will cover them for loss of income. But she has no such protection, so will be struggling to make ends meet until their businesses are operational again unless she can find other work.
I know there are worthy causes all over the world and this is just another appeal. But I couldn’t live here and witness this and not ask you to support Cumbria either by donating to the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund, shopping online with one of the local businesses in Cockermouth that have an online shop , or visiting what I think is the most beautiful place in the world and spending a few quid. If you ask nice I might even put you up 🙂