I woke up early this morning, put some makeup on and decided I’d lay the kids clothes out for when they got up. It was still dark and I put Micky Flanagan on my phone to cheer myself up. We would be at kids club on time 💪🏼 ..then life goes, nah I’ve got other plans for you today. I just go to get bananas out the awning for the kids and tread in a foot of water, shit.
The storm was really bad last night. I’m not one of these people usually kept awake by things but this one was constant flashes every few seconds. I’m instantly thinking about the electrics we’ve got out there – luckily Ben moved the extension lead up onto a table which we hadn’t done at any other site.
It’s still dark when there’s a knock on the window at 7 and the warden says there’s so much water we have to leave – a car will pick us up, get the kids ready in ten minutes and grab what you need. All their shoes are in the awning, cool. Soaked through wellies it is! I get Drews bag of his meds and bits in the pram and throw the rain cover over and wait in the awning in the dark with the kids in this river 😆
When the car comes they can’t fit the pram in and say they will walk it to reception, except the rain cover came off and now that’s soaked. They drive us to our chalet in a nice car (at this point I feel bad because we’re absolutely soaked just from getting to the car.) they give us keys to a lovely chalet and say if we need anything just ask. At this point the rain didn’t feel THAT bad and I was amazed they would act so fact and get us out of there into decent accommodation. I put the heater on to dry the boots a little and start hanging out the wringing wet clothes whilst the kids run around naked trying to jump and climb on the bunk beds, then get them all changed into dry clothes. Mission accomplished, we’re warm and dry yet we don’t have food, and my phone just died 🤔 daddy is in the UK at a funeral and knows half of what’s going on. I can’t call reception and ask for a lift because I have no phone, meanwhile hands down the worst storm I’ve ever witnessed is going down outside, literally never seen so much lightning. Kids are hungry, I feel so alone with no means of contact and none of our belongings in the empty chalet. So we wait for a break in the weather and head for the shop, but as we were dropped to the other side of the site in the dark we have NO IDEA where we are. Geographically I’m about as shite as they come, when it comes to getting my bearings I don’t know my head from my arsehole.
Out we go. Kids are walking under the pram rain cover (pram still soaked from earlier so can’t take that.) I don’t know know if you’ve ever tired holding an umbrella over children and yourself, but it’s one of the most awkward things you can do and always ends up in someone (usually parent) getting more wet than if they weren’t holding one at all. The water pools off it at an awkward angle and directly onto your neck or shoulder area in a concentrated miniature river. So I’m thinking do I give up with the umbrella, cue a tremendous earth shattering, sky falling bolt of thunder and lightening and I launch it as far away as I can thinking I will get struck from the metal at the top! We’re walking so far out of the zone at a shuffle pace to keep us all under the cover and now the kids are screaming literally terrified at the noise and getting soaked round two. In this much rain even if you knew where you’re going it would be hard to get there.
Luckily I find someone cleaning a chalet and beg her to escort us to reception on her golf caddy. When we get there I manage to tell the lady all in a ramble that my kids are wet, cold and hungry and we don’t have a caravan, yes we have a chalet but I can’t get back there because the weathers too bad and no my car isn’t here either, I have no phone and my husband isn’t here. So I’m stuck at reception with half naked children, the lady tells us not to leave it’s too dangerous out there but no she doesn’t have a phone charger or clothes or any means of getting food. Hmmm. 🤷🏼♀️ we are totally screwed then guys. Lightbulb I remember a blanket I shoved in my bag yesterday. So I huddle them all together, lips all blue, and cuddle them in it. Luckily it’s not long before we are bought towels to wrap round us and I get a charger 🔌 We sit in reception for a little longer, soon the lights all flicker then go out all together and it gets cold in there and I mean I can’t really take my trousers off (but I want to because they’re soaked) keeping me pretty cold. I get the kids to mop the floor with the towels that are down so they scoot around reception drying the floor and start doing yoga poses on them! Eventually a lady comes with a basket of fresh croissants and pain au chocolat so the boys have some and I have to explain that Drew can’t have one even though he badly wants to but he has allergies. We get asked if we want to move to a room upstairs with some light and a bit warmer, up there they have put two fresh baguettes, packets of ham, pate,
a bottle of water and some colouring for the kids. I seriously appreciated this because I saw how far stretched they were at this point with everyone coming to reception wanting to know what was going on the phone ringing constantly until the power all went.
We’re told that the emergency services are coming and want to evacuate people and take them to a nearby ‘hotel’ as the campsite is not safe. They turn up with a minibus and I unload the towel wrapped shoe-less kids into to minbus where we get taken to a local theatre, like a huge empty hall. In it there’s tables and chairs, second hand coats on a rail, and not a lot else at this point. We’re told to wait here until we know what’s happening. Almost immediately more tables are set up and staff start bringing out food and drinks to lay on the tables, baguettes, Ham, pate, cheeses, fruit pouches, crisps, apples & Bananas with cordial and fizzy drinks, tea and coffee. They done it so effortlessly and quickly it was really amazing how many people they fed in such a short space of time.
The french Red Cross had a huge presence continually bringing in more clothes, jumpers and coats for people – I felt bad to take them as I didn’t know how long we would be there but was so glad I did. The kids had some food and there were now toys being bought over in bags as well as books and games. The kids were pretty happy just playing with other children and getting in with it. Think they just thought it was part of a day out! We meet just two English families out of all the people here (with more continuously arriving as other places are evacuated.) They both ask “when are you heading home” I tell them that is our home flooded at the campsite! To which one replied, “well there was one caravan looked like it was drifting off with it’s awning on too” – I told her it sounds like ours. Excellent 😆 We spent several hours in the hall and what I saw from the French people was incredible, they were all extremely kind, supportive and helpful. For what they done as volunteers I’m in awe. The kindness of strangers today really made the whole world of difference for me and the kids in what could’ve otherwise been a lonely and scary day for us. We waited there several hours and we’re told we would be sleeping there, I text Ben and said that’s what we were doing and he immediately suggested we get a hotel. I didn’t even think of it, all I knew as I wouldn’t get much sleep on the cold hard floor and how would the kids stay warm. So I searched around and instantly I thought sod it they deserve a treat, so I booked us into a pirate themed hotel – more than I’d usually ever pay but today we all deserved it. We get there and it’s awesome! (Albeit quite creepy in the dark) Kids are loving it and seem happy to have been in the taxi with it’s fun seats facing backwards as Jax says 😆 We get into our room and I realise we have no nappies left! The lady at reception says I need a taxi to supermarket and honestly I need a supermarket with half shoeless kids like a hole in the head, not to mention Koas still cold and having to wear the itchy jumper I picked up (so grateful for these places I can’t tell you but I honestly picked up THE itchiest jumper!) He’s now wearing it so I’m cold too. Drew’s had a poo in our last nappy. I can’t toilet train him over night, we HAVE to go to the supermarket – lucky the taxi driver said he would wait if we were ten mins. I supermarket sweep it through the shop buying dinner bits, snacks, clean clothes and coats for all three, socks, fuck I forgot the shoes. Koas got a slight temperature and cough, need calpol – can’t find it anywhere.. shit ten minutes I’ve already been ages. Kids are trying to climb out the trolley, I’m wrapped in our blanket we’d sat on all day. (Koa was actually sick on it from coughing too I suddenly remember.) We’re all shattered, we must’ve looked like a sight for sore eyes going round the supermarket! Back to the hotel and REST. I make some dinner (nothing majorly master chef, we’re talking cuppa soups and crisps and dip) 😆 .. still I’m kind of amazed I had the energy even for that.
I’m so grateful for today ❤️ that we’re all ok. I’ve since heard people died in this storm which was apparently described as a mini typhoon!! The flash flooding has caused some serious devastation. I’m so thankful that the kids have been really upbeat and just got on with it, also for the lovely friends we’ve made onsite who’s help I can’t explain how grateful we are for. I can’t begin to get my head around the fact we’ve only been out the country 9DAYS! I feel like we’ve had a lifetime of change and known people here for so much longer than just a few days. I’m not sure what we’ll do next but we do have the chalet here and we’ve got each other. Well work it out. Sending love xx