The Worst of times, the best of times …


At the northern tip of the stunning Lake District National Park, just west of the designated Area of Outstanding National Beauty that is the Solway Coast and less than ten miles from the gateway to magnificent Scotland, stands the beautiful and ancient border City of Carlisle. It’s my birthplace, it’s my home. Its streets and buildings echo with memories of those who over the centuries have built this community. Though it sits in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, it’s a part where life has often been brutal and harsh, where the words blackmail and bereaved were born. It has withstood siege and curse, prosperity and poverty.

I love my hometown.  It’s the setting for my first novel,  Strong as Death, and my current Work in Progress is set in the countryside in and around the city. But the words I write today have nothing to do with fiction.

This weekend, the North of England and Southern Scotland saw their heaviest ever recorded rainfall. Communities all over the region are witnessing the devastation of their infrastructures, homes and livelihoods, as they are swallowed by floods for the second, and in some cases third time in a decade.

BBC news footage of the Cumbrian floods in the wake of Storm Desmond

I wept when, aged eighteen, I moved away from Carlisle and, throughout the almost three decades I was away, I yearned to return. When I finally did, however, my homecoming was not a joyful one (a tale for another time). Nevertheless, I found arms strong enough to hold me when I was too weak to stand, hands to steady mine when they shook from fear and hearts quick to embrace my broken one. Here in my hometown, I rediscovered the strength and faith I needed to rebuild. To restore.

Long after the news reports, Facebook posts and Tweets have grown quiet on the subject of the #CumbriaFloods, I am in no doubt that strong arms, steady hands and full hearts will be giving time and resources with unstinting generosity in these ruined communities that overflow with the resilience needed for rebuilding and restoration.



12 thoughts on “The Worst of times, the best of times …

  1. Lot of courage dealing with weather like this. Can’t get angry, can’t blame anyone, can only deal with it. Very glad you’ve got good folks there with you, Julia. I grew up along the Texas coast, and am still in Central Texas, and I know how terrible it can be to deal with torrential flooding. All our prayers and best wishes for you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes 🙂

        Like our own part of the world’s rains are far from the kind of tsunami that hit a few years ago in the Pacific, and like the civil alerts in our area remind us about 3 inches being more than enough to cause death, devastation in one’s life is still devastation. All my best wishes, Julia.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price

    HI Julia. I looked up some of the news sites reporting the flood. It looks like Carlisle got some serious flooding. It’s sad, but it reminds us how weak man is compared to nature. If we ever get some really serious rains out here, our property is only 1000 feet from the river and about 12 feet below the riverbed. Yikes! My thoughts and prayers for the people in northern England.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry for the damage and loss your hometown has suffered Julia. Being from Louisiana I well understand the devastation of stormsa nd flooding, having been theough some of its worst, the last being Katrina. Thoughts and prayersa re with you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If not for community we would have all been desolate. If only humans could find such kindnesses every day. I have to say that for all of its other faults, my home state is full of real community and genuinely friendly people. There is always an extra plate of food and someone who knows someone who has a friend who can help.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Diana. It is a wonderful place and somewhere I will never be sorry to have returned to. My first novel, Strong as Death, is set in Carlisle and my current work in progress is set on a fictional village a few miles from the city, which also has a role in the narrative.


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