This is a very long post dedicated to my version of the #toonflood nightmare

Walking Rosie to school this morning was a bit of a humbling experience.

A neighbour's livingroom in the garden waiting collection

I don’t often walk Rosie to school but I don’t have a car at the moment as my husband needs to use it for reasons you shall see later. Whilst walking past the gardens of our not so fortunate neighbours we could see their flood damaged carpets, laminate flooring, furniture and belongs waiting for collection and it brought home to me how lucky my family actual was last Thursday evening.

It started on Thursday tea time at 4pm when I called Rosie’s school to find that the trip to Stepney Bank Stables had gone ahead and I was looking out of the office window at the black sky, lightning flashes and torrential rain thinking the horses will be totally freaked out. I didn’t know at the time she was having her own little adventure trying to keep the rain out of the stables until the weather got so bad that the children were ushered to the safety of the building.

At 4:45pm I received a call from Sarah Jane at the shop to tell me it had a leak and she’d reported it to the builder. This would be the newly fixed roof but SJ had it in hand and it wasn’t too bad. Shortly afterwards my life got extremely scary, complicated and stressful.

So I get this phone call at 4:50pm from my husband saying he is stuck under Walkergate metro bridge and his car was swamped and he couldn’t get it out. Luckily I had brought my car to work as my son’s school who will remain nameless as I’m still cross that I had to trek home to pick up my son’s school uniform because they neglected to tell me that they had cancelled non-uniform day, so I started to get ready to leave the office. I thought I would drive down to see if I could help and loan him my car for the event he had to oversee at a school as he’s the caretaker.

About 5 minutes later my brother called and said no matter what you do, if you can stay at work do so, because the roads are flooded especially our street and you won’t get your car home. I then spoke to Mum who told me that one wrote off car was bad enough; she had my son with her and would hold the fort best she could at home. We live a few doors apart from each other.

View from the office window

So I’m stuck in the office debating with the girls, when exactly we should make a run for it and there was, what seemed to be, a lull so they pegged it to the shops to find wellies to walk home in and I ran outside to my car and got ready to go. I know the back streets that are pretty level on the way home so I went for it with everything crossed.

Everything was fine, the streets were backed up somewhat and I got to Warwick Street and stopped for what seemed like forever with the water starting to creep up the tires of the car. Park it or stick with it?! Well I stuck with it and it was about ten minutes later that I got through t the higher part of the street. I received a call from the school as I was stood still waiting for the traffic to make a move towards Heaton Rd, it was Debbie Bailey the new head of Walkergate Primary, she explained that the children were safe inside the building at the stables and that as soon as it was safe for to bring them back to school they would but it would need approval from the council. I must say Miss Bailey was fantastic that night!

A radio announcement said that Heaton Rd was closed as well as the Coast Rd due to flooding which explained why I was still sitting watching some youngsters with in a metal gridded basketball pitch in thunder and fork lightning, splashing about in the water in their shorts. What a bunch of numpties I thought as I made a U turn and went left towards Shields Rd. Which was also at a standstill but I managed to get to the Butcher’s Arms and took the road behind the high street towards Byker Wall which wasn’t bad at all, there was an old mini in front of me and if it could get through the water I was going to as well was my thinking.

So I get to my decision point of driving down Welbeck Rd or the Fossway, with Mum’s advice in my ears I chose Welbeck Rd which was absolutely fine but the roads to my house where flooded and if it had not have been for the old chap who guiding me on I would have happily dumped my car at the top of my street and waded the foot high water to my home. I didn’t realise how strong the current was though but I could feel it pulling my car. I also didn't realise that the noise and commotion was from all the sirens of the emergency vehicles flying around Newcastle trying to help people.

I get home with relief after a 45 minute journey home that should have taking me 15 minutes tops. However I was impressed I got home so quickly considering the circumstances. I was horrified to see my bit of grassed garden was now a pond and the water was up to the top of the doorstep. My brother had come along to check the dogs. So I made the executive decision that the house is insured and I needed to make sure my daughter was safe. I whacked my wellies on which was a good start.

We rounded the corner onto Scrogg Rd and I simply hadn’t seen anything yet! We were carrying a dog each as the water was too high for them to walk in. Neighbours had stacked up pillows and quilts against the doors and were using anything from pans, to buckets, to wheelie bins to try and steer the water away from their doors. I’d resigned myself to the fact that my house would be flooded when I got back and plodded on through the water to my Mum’s house. Mum looked harassed but she had a higher doorstep like me so she was trying to help out her neighbour who’s house had a foot of water running through it. I dropped off dogs, told my son to stay put and plodded to my daughter’s school.

This pic was taking during the lull between the two downpours from the corner of my home!!

It was so hard going, I didn’t realise that flood water carried such a heavy current to it. My wellies were not tall enough but they got me through the river of Scrogg Road across the Fossway onto Stotts Rd. Oddly the school seemed to be fine amongst all the chaos. I was giving an update and a brew and I nattered with a few of the teachers and Mums there.  Nothing was going on so I thought I would see how the husband was. This is what I saw:

Somewhere under all this water is my husband's pride and joy!

It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I found out that my husband had tried to push the car out of the bank and slipped. I dread to think what would have happened if his car had of rolled backwards.

So the teachers at the school were great and managed to get the children to the school for 8pm-ish which wasn’t too bad but felt like the longest time in the world. On the walk home we got to the Scrogg Road river which wasn’t as bad as I had walked across earlier that evening but I had to tell Rosie to sshhh so I could assess where the path of least resistance would be. Suddenly I heard a man shout "wait there pet!" off he waded through the water of his garden towards us and he picked Rosie up and popped her on the ground on the other side. I was so grateful to that man and felt guilty that I had left him behind to wheelie bin the water away from the front of his house.

We were so lucky that our passage just needed a quick mop and the carpets vaxed. I spent Friday helping out some of my neighbours to vax their carpets too. Most of which are out in their gardens now as they’ll never come clean or loose that dirty damp smell.  We were all safe at home by 9:30pm and the shop’s leak was minimal. Sure we lost the car but it’s insured and replaceable. Our children aren’t!

Surveying the damage the water was higher than that tide line!

It sure was an epic adventure on Thursday, 28 June, hopefully one that will never be repeated again. But if it does, I think my husband might want to consider this as his next mode of transport?!