I know that Chris Rea’s original song lyrics referred to being stuck in traffic on the M25;
but believe me, he hasn’t seen the truly appalling state of our driveway after the recent heavy rains. The local area is steeped in the dire threat of Flood Warning, something rare even in this part of the world; but it really is bad, very bad indeed.
A year ago, at the cost of around £6,000 we had the driveway completely resurfaced to the extent that it was so smooth it did indeed resemble the M25. Unfortunately the cost of tarmac proved a bridge (or indeed a road) too far; it would have cost us at least £18,000 – the price of a modest terraced house, in some parts of the UK – to get it done; & for us, there would be the additonal risk that in icy conditions controlling a car on a steep, tarmac drive would be like riding Bambi full-tilt across a skating rink. Essentially you could say, the flesh was willing but the purse was weak.
Taking Nanuk for her daily excursion proved something of a shock: a deep, deep shock. When I woke this morning, well before dawn, it was to the interminable sound of relentless rain whispering dark portents, on the roof; & on rising, the choking stench of soot from the ailing Rayburn chimney caused me to gag anew.
On gazing through the window as the wan light gradually revealed the grim greyness of the January morn I was dismayed to note that what had been a broad stream only yesterday, skirting the rear of the cottage & flowing onto the yard & into the fields below had more determinedly cut a channel down to the increasingly angry, spluttering torrent deep in the valley situated beneath the homestead. Nevertheless, the volume of water threatens everyone & everything in the area: we have clearly not been spared the force of elemental fury – & worse (far, far worse) we are assured, is to come in the next few days. My hope to cope? Well; I must grin & bear it as best I can; although I could have wept to see all the painstaking effort, time & indeed money (£thousands) that we have poured into our ‘long & winding road’, having been literally washed away, overnight.
Meanwhile Tony had rather a grim time of it, out in Beirut; when only a short distance from the restaurant where he & his crew were having a meal, a bomb exploded. Luckily they were unharmed by the blast but it is a grim demonstration of how tense the political situation is in the area. The blast was a car bomb attack, with 20 kgs of TNT packed into a Honda, against a US diplomatic vehicle in the city’s Christian quarter. The blast tragically killed at least three citizens & wounded another sixteen. Hezbollah have been blamed & the attack coincided with President Bush’s visit to the region as the anti-Syrian majority’s most influential backer in its political battle with the Hezbollah-led opposition. Thank goodness the crew did not end up as innocent victims – as have so many other unfortunates – in this increasingly bloody battle for power.
Could there possibly be any more unwelcome news, today? Well, as it turned out, yes; as Mum’s hospital appointment today unearthed the worrying revelation that over the last couple of weeks she has suffered a minor stroke. In fact she does recall waking one morning & feeling that her face had somehow frozen & it was difficult to speak; however as it improved, she did not think there was a need to consult her GP. These days I’d say, “better safe than sorry” – & I think this latest incident certainly supports that philosophy! Poor Mum, she really has been through the wars lately.
So what with everything that’s been going on, I feel literally driven to distraction; however, the wheels may be turning yet somehow I feel I’m getting nowhere fast – especially with the ‘Road to Hell’ in its’ washed-out state….