Now before I begin this piece in full flow I need to get something out of the way – I very much am aware that my suffering is not even a dot in a giant Seurat painting compared to what others are going through currently with weather damage in the UK, so please take this piece in the tone it is meant, a little self indulgent whinge that actually knows a lot better.
Oh Christmas Eve, a day where I had reading delights planned, off work and little to do, I had every intention of happily whiling the hours away with endless cups of tea and the book I *wish* was endless – A Little Life. It turned out other plans had been made for me. As I sat happily on my sofa watching the rain stream down the window panes, listening to the wind howl, a rather shocking noise broke my reverie – it appeared to be raining, nae pouring, INSIDE MY FLAT. Jumping up and running through the front room to my small entrance/corridor I was quickly soaked to the bone as torrents of muddy water cascaded down, forming first pools on the floor and then somewhat more of a lake with a tributary running into my front room. No bucket could contain this monster and I can’t lie, my first thought was loudly and clearly ‘MY BOOKS’, for under the indoor Avon Niagra experience could be found three of my book cases. With so many books and so little space in my flat they were not all happily hidden beneath their book shelf ceilings, these books were living on the edge, doubled up, over spilling, plenty had climbed and conquered the peak leaving them totally exposed to the elements. I grabbed every towel I could, sloshing my way through the waters to at least provide some initial cover to those books bearing the brunt of the storm. Other towels were used to make a dam, the off shoot river snaking it’s way to my front room needed to be stopped before even more books would become victims.
After a fifteen minute period the down pour turned to light drizzle and then eventually just the odd drip here and there. Now was the time when I could get the real evacuation underway. I emptied the shelves pile by pile, waves of grief hitting me as I found my first fallen soldier, the graphic novel ‘Marx’ took quite the blow, it’s thick, cardboard feel cover almost acting as a sponge, taking in more than its fair share as if to help others. A precious find of an old, leather Uncle Tom’s Cabin was amongst those involved – a painful blow to the heart when I lifted it from the wreckage. My strategy was simple, just get all of the books OUT for now and to a place of greater safety, so my bedroom became the village community hall, offering spaces for the weary, and before I knew it you could not see the floor for books as they lay side by side in the hope of drying out.
Readers, a lot of chocolate was consumed this day, I won’t lie to you, and my heart skipped a beat as I had to leave the fallen few (well, fallen 200-250 ish I’d say) to their fate as I travelled 300 miles away for Christmas celebrations. They were always on my mind, always on my mind. I’m back now but fear has took hold of my heart, the adrenalin of charging in to save the sacred pages has abated and I try not to look at the wounded awaiting my care. “I’m in work each day, I can’t give my attention” I tell myself, but we know this to be a lie, don’t judge me I beg of you. This Saturday I will not be in work and I must face up to the consequences, I must give each book the care and attention it deserves and decide it’s fate in a calm and rational manner. Book community – think of me during this time and more inportantly, think of the fallen.
*bows head* *whispers* thank you