Sheffield Floods—Summer 2007

To:   R & S
From:   Sheena Healey

Subject:   Early Morning

Date:  Wednesday 4 Jul 2007 09:26:27 +0100

I get very home sick for Santa Rosa some times which Hart finds very odd, as I come from Sheffield. I am sending you the latest photo of the kids. There is only one as it is getting harder and harder to take photos of them with straight faces. The minute they see a camera they adopt strange expressions, squinting and grunting.

The photo was taken on a day when we went shopping, and for once, it didn't rain

Hart (from iChat): like Rome, Sheffield is built on seven hills—just the lowlands were flooded. It's lucky we live on a hill

R&S: We were really unaware of the flooding until we started watching bbc north news

Hart: Yes, they were flying people off their roofs with helicopters at it's worst

R&S: So you had no flooding, apart from the electricity being off.

Hart: Net seems to be very slow

R&S: Yes, it does

Hart: And cable/broadband

R&S: How are you getting on food wise? Has anyone been able to leave the house?

Hart: We've hiked to local shops, but their shelves are very empty. Luckily, we're both hoarders and have a full pantry.

R&S: So you are fortunate really—house still standing, food. electricity... There are floods also in Texas, Kansas, and Pakistan—lots of casualties, more serious it seems than in UK

R&S: What do you think will happen re: housing in Sheffield? Some people have lost their homes, after all.

Hart: Yes, some people in Hull have been told that they can't return to their homes for a year—here, they're just mucking out, it's life as usual—more cars lost than homes

Sheena's email continues:

We haven't seen any heavy rain for a week now. It keeps on raining, but nothing compared to the Sunday/Monday when it rained for 24 hours straight. We are very happy to have not been affected by the floods, but at the same time, we feel a bit cheated.

Something so out of the ordinary, something so unbelievable as Sheffield flooding and we didn't see any of it. We were sitting here with just the radio to listen to, so it all had a unreal feel to it.

The photo that really made me realize how bad it was, it didn't show floating cars or flooded homes, it was this one. This is a photo of a fish swimming down the Wicker!

This is a photograph of the Wicker as it usually appears—not a puddle in sight, so you can see why I was so shocked by the fish.

Where the front two buses are on the right, (in front of the green topped bus) is just about where Ladys Bridge is. My mother says Ladys Bridge is older than she is and it was moving during the flood. They are having to get engineers to see how safe it is and if necessary fix it.

My sister, Helen who lives in Hillsborough, says when it really started to flood and the power went out she went with her boyfriend and another friend to try and find a shop where they sell candles. It was raining really fast and heavy and that they had to walk through stinking dirty water that flooded her shoes. In the end they walked for an hour or more and her shoes have gone in the bin. My sister is very fond of her shoes and having to throw her trainers away was made worse by the fact that when they found a shop selling candles, it was the one just down the road. Her shoes would have been saved if they had gone there first!

There are houses all along Penistone Road near the Wednesday football ground, with furniture and carpets pulled out onto the front. Even the side roads leading off Penistone Road have piles of people's belongings that are waiting to be thrown away. Places I have known all my life are under water, it's so still hard to believe, if you know what it mean.

Well, I'm off to try and get Stephie to behave and stop climbing and jumping off Arthur's top bunk. Hart says he will be on iChat tonight, if the Internet doesn't go down again.

Meli is in the bathroom and Arthur ran to her shouting, "It's alive, it's alive."
Ah! Apparently just a moth.

Well bye for now.     Love from S,H,A,A, and S

Hart: The aftermath was oddly anticlimactic—one broken wind-up radio, and few less candles—but others didn't have it so easy. We're into tropical monsoon. It's coming down in heavy drops then steams it's way back again. The tension of the thunderstorm hasn't resolved itself yet, feels like it's still hanging over all our heads.

Nanan's: Walking with the Ancestors in Sheffield
by Hartley Healey

Hartley and his wife Sheena are partners with Rachman and Stephanie in the Undiscovered Worlds Press.

"A home is something beyond it's brick and stone and wood, in time a building takes on a living sentience of it's own."

Copyright© 2007, Undiscovered Worlds Press