Hello, I'm Chrissie. I can't get over how lucky I am to be living at the seaside - I still love living at Cleveleys after being here for more than 15 years. I hope you enjoy my slightly cock-eyed look at life - come back regularly for a look at living beside the seaside, our mad family life and my view on local and topical current affairs. The weather often features, along with the very different things that you get to see and do when you live somewhere like this.
Haven’t we all had some awful weather and it’s not much better now. I don’t know about you, I feel so sorry for all the people who have been flooded everywhere, Kendal has had it really bad along with Lancaster areas and all over the place.
Coming much nearer to home, there has been lots of flooding round about us in Cleveleys, Thornton, Fleetwood and Anchorsholme, and no doubt all of the low lying areas of the Fylde Coast. Luckily for us, we are higher than the streets behind and thinking of Thornton Gate it must have run down there like a water slide.
There are too many street names to mention, so many have been flooded, but Westmorland, Northumberland and many more were completely flooded, along with The Corners and plenty of other places nearby. Thornton has been especially badly affected, and from what we've seen on Facebook it looks like the dyke near the Bay Horse couldn't cope with the water coming down it.
Have a look at the Care for Cleveleys Facebook page (and join while you're there) to see what's been going on.
Hundreds of gardens have been under inches of water and I just hope it hasn’t managed to get into everyone’s homes, although I know that in some cases it has done. Jane did tell me that of course as usual the drains can’t cope and water has come up and out of manholes. Some people have said that they have had their toilets blocked up and unuseable. I hope that their toilets haven't overflowed and that no one has had sewage inside - that must be awful, imagine the mess and smell!
I can’t think of anything more awful than being flooded out, with your possessions being ruined and all the horror of cleaning up after it, it must be soul destroying to say the least.
Then there is all the sorting out of the insurance and can you still live in your home if it is such a mess. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to live in other accommodation for months while it all gets sorted out can you, I think I would have the screaming abdabs.
I don’t know when the last time was that the drains were cleaned out on the prom and to say they get blocked with sand and rubbish is putting it mildly. I would have said that they should be cleaned out more not less as the wind causes drains to get blocked up quickly.
The only time we seem to see the drain men is when they're sat skiving on the promenade. At one time a couple of years ago the big yellow LCC drain van was on our promenade for hours on end, instead of being out clearing drains. Someone must have reported them because then we saw the same people skiving in other laybys in other places. I know a lot of people have reported blocked drains to LCC and nothing has been done with them - then the next thing you know there's a flood.
We have to jet wash our drains to get rid of the sand so why the road drainage system isn’t cleaned out regularly is beyond me, but anyway it doesn’t alter the fact that they haven’t coped with the water. To be fair, we have had exceptional rain, it seems a long time to me since we had such consistent pelting rain, it never stopped and yesterday morning I was woken up by the sound of hailstones hitting the glass.
You have to wonder why we are getting such extremes of weather don’t you think. Some say it’s climate change, others say not. The Summers are poor with not too much sun and then the wind. Oh the wind, it’s been incessant here and nearly blown us into the back of beyond. I feel like Dorothy who is getting blown away, so if you see me with my red shoes on floating away over the rooftops, you’ll know why! The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy seem quite appropriate lately, I must remember not to put my red shoes on or it might come true.
Where we lived in Yorkshire, there was an area called Low Valley, which going by the name should tell you that it is low lying. Not so the developers and planners who either didn’t know that in heavy rain the area became flooded and the fields turned into lakes, or were turning a blind eye to the fact that if you built houses there trouble was waiting around the corner.
A whole estate of new houses was built there, then trouble certainly came, much to the amazement of people who knew the area and knew of the flooding risks, because of course the first time there was a lot of rain, the houses flooded!
It's not funny if you have trusted that the area wouldn’t flood, but their houses quickly became unsellable as you would imagine, so what can you do but stay there and have continual aggro. Other developers have done the same in areas all over the country where people have become victims of living in low lying areas which are prone to flooding, and I myself think it shameful that they can be allowed to build on sections of land that are prone to it.
After all, plans must have been passed to allow it so where was the research into whether it was safe to do so or not. It’s all about money and greedy developers don’t you think, but it makes me angry that new houses are built on future trouble. If you buy an existing house that you know is prone to flooding, that is your risk but to buy a new house unaware of the problems is awful, it makes me wonder whether these people sleep well in bed at night, my guess is yes!!
The whole story of why planners allow building on flood plains is a complicated one. The government set targets of how many houses each local council area has to build, and each council are then has to find land to build them on. So just think about Thornton Cleveleys for example. Where would you build significant numbers of new houses? I can't think of any particularly large areas, and most of the ones I could think of suffer from standing water when it rains.
And why do we need more houses? To increase supply and make them more affordable for people, and to cope with an increasing population. So unless us oldies start dying off more quickly, and you youngsters stop having families, along with a complete ban on immigration, we're a bit stuck. Nothing is ever straight forward is it.
Anyway, again, I’m so sorry for anyone who has been a victim of all the rain and hope it hasn’t disrupted your lives too much, it must stop sometime surely although we’ve just had another heavy downpour, maybe we should get building an ark!!
Joking apart, it's also a timely reminder that everyone who lives in a vulnerable area should get themselves flood ready for next time. Make sure you've got some sandbags, make a stormgate for your front gate/door etc (depending on where the water is coming from). Make sure you've got everything precious stored above water level. Get your insurance documents, a torch and basics that you'd need together and put them on a high shelf. Etc.
And it would also be worth thinking about your garden. If it's paved or has a plastic lining membrane get it swapped for something permeable.
When we first came here our back and front gardens were completely paved. The back garden had a platic lining sheet overlayed with pink gravel. Everytime it rained we had a pond.
We took the whole lot up, primarily because we wanted a garden. The added benefit is that we just get a waterlogged lawn which drains much more quickly instead of a pond of standing water - it's certainly made a difference just in our small patch. Plus all the fringe benefits of the birds and wildlife that we get. You've got to think how you can help yourself too.