That was the week that was

The weather has been decidedly odd. Lancashire is famous for its rain but we have had almost nothing else for weeks. Normally rain isn't a problem: the local geography and geology means that water quickly runs into rivers which take it away.

But the past few weeks have been different. We have watched as roads have become more difficult and the garden has become more and more water-logged. The Met Office has started naming storms and they all head for Lancashire. This one sounded harmless enough: Desmond.

It all came to a head last Saturday evening when the River Lune burst its banks and Lancaster's flood defences were breached. The main substation, unfortunately built near the river during calmer times, was completely submerged and all the lights went out for 60,000 households: the whole of Lancashire north of Preston.

Ours was one of the 60,000 households to lose all power for several days. Without any heating or hot water (and none anywhere nearby) we decided to decamp to Liverpool and enjoy clean, city living for a few days until thing got back to normal.

In the end we suffered no real damage. As we returned home we were listening to reports of serious floods across Cumbria. Kendal, Appleby, Keswick, Cockermouth and Carlisle were all under water. Less well known to tourists from outside the north west, St Michaels-on-Wyre, a few miles downstream from us, is still underwater and under a severe flood warning ('risk to life') a week later.

Although the rain is still falling, levels are generally returning to normal. We're back to a typical wet, dull Lancashire autumn/winter.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the once-in-a-century event.
Lancaster City Centre the day after the River Lune burst its banks
Skerton Bridge remained closed the next day for structural reasons, adding to the difficulties

A sight not seen for many years: queueing for a phone box as the mobile networks failed during the power cuts

Someone's pride and joy parked too close to the river
Pooley Bridge, dating from 1764, washed away in a few hours

The River Lune from Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale
St Michaels-on-Wyre, still on severe flood alert a week after the Lancaster floods