Living the Dream: Public generosity helps us bounce back from flood

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AFTER a busy Christmas day, it was just starting to become light on the morning after and I could see the amount of water sitting in the fields due to the rain which had fallen over the previous 24 hours.

I walked around the outside of the barn and the new shop and tearoom and even there we had standing water. I spoke to a friendly farmer to borrow a pump from him, as I thought if the rain continued I could use it to keep the levels down.

As I drove back through the gate I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, the water level had risen by six to eight inches and was now filling up inside our new shop and tearoom. I ran through the torrent which was curling around the barn end and across the bridge towards the house. Thankfully, it was being diverted off the bridge and into the beck, so wasn’t at this stage heading for the house.

I opened the front door and shouted: “The water is in the shop, the water is in the shop, get towels now!”

I then waded back over the bridge to get the pump set up and working. Within minutes, I turned to see Wendy and our three daughters wading through the water filled barn, with piles of towels under each arm to try and stem the tide, which by this time was running through the new kitchen and toilets too.

We posted an urgent plea on our ‘Ginger Cow’ Facebook page and on the local Pocklington Facebook page to try and muster up additional manpower.

Within minutes we had cars stopping and people jumping out and saying, what can we do to help? We had neighbours turn up with a digger and another larger water pump and before we knew it, we had three pumps on the go and literally dozens of people, many we didn’t even know, working hard to get the rising water levels down.

Before long, both by hand and with the digger, trenches had been dug to allow water to reach ditches and let the water be taken down stream.

So many angels tuned up that day, changing their plans to help and we’ll be forever grateful.

Since then we’ve been trying to get things dried out and at the same time have been working hard to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Initially I spoke to our neighbour down the lane, the one who’d brought a digger in to use on the day of our flood, and his son James came round with digger in tow to create a rather large barrier between the fields and our barn, which is home to our new business.

He did a wonderful job as the resulting trench has been running constantly off the fields and now we can put longer term plans in place for the future.

We’ve had no let up in dramas this week. One morning I noticed ‘Badger’, one of our Shetland sheep, had become stand offish. After a little bit of running around, I got a good look at her and could see her left eye was infected.

I called out our vet and he established that she’d cut the eye itself, that she’d need to be operated on and would need to lose her eye. We think she damaged her eye whilst feeding through the hay feeder.

Everything went according to plan and she is now home and will return to the flock in a few days, with her stitches being taken out in a fortnight.

Fingers crossed.

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