Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Durham and the deluge

Why were we in Durham, you ask? (Well, you didn't; but I'll tell you anyway.) We were there for a late celebration of Mr Life's 65th birthday, which was an especially momentous one in my mind because his father sadly died at the age of 64, when our son was 12 days old. Ever since then - so for over 28 years - it's been my ambition to get Mr Life past this age. Success!

All of our children and their spouses and also my brother, his wife and offspring met up. We chose Durham because it's about half way between Edinburgh and London/Cambridge, where the southern contingent live. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which we thought was very good - modern, comfortable with very helpful staff. There were also big red swivelly chairs in the reception area, which most of us enjoyed sitting in at various times.

We did quite a lot of this sort of thing.

The younger ones went swimming in the hotel pool. Granddaughter was so exhausted by her first swim that she fell asleep before she could get dressed.

On the Saturday afternoon we visited the Cathedral (very impressive, with variously-patterned pillars which I greatly liked). The youngest members of the party decided to snooze through this.

Most of us posed for a photo. It was beginning to rain.

As we got back to the hotel, the rain was quite heavy and it struck us that the river was getting rather high. The hotel is the building on the left. We hoped that the river wasn't going to burst its banks. We stood on the footbridge and watched the water whooshing downstream, carrying lots of big branches and two dead sheep. Oh dear.

Very soon, the water started to spill on to the road outside the hotel. Hmm, we thought.

This was the view from our room about ten minutes later. Yes, that's the road on the left side of the fence.

Meanwhile we enjoyed a meal in our private room ... on the ground floor. (Look at that flip chart on the wall at the back. I felt I ought to be giving a lecture. But I didn't have any felt markers with me.)

Grandson, in his smart shirt and trousers, played with his tactahs between courses. Fortunately the hotel is up a flight of steps from the road, but the water was still rising.

Oblivious, Granddaughter - wearing her party dress - beamed at Son.

The water stayed - just - on the other side of that flowerbed.

See it lapping the foot of the hotel steps?

The view down the street at 11 pm.

By about 12.15 am, the water started receding and by 8 in the morning it looked like this. I'm not sure I would have parked my car there, though.


  1. I`m very glad you didn`t all wash away down the river - that was a close shave!

    What a lovely family get-together. Your grand children are beautiful.

    Wishing Mr Life a very Happy Birthday and many more of them!

  2. Well, that could have been very exciting couldn't it! Happy birthday to Mr Life.

  3. We have just had a similar flood in Toronto - all four lanes of a major highway was washed out from the intense rain. It was the first time that ever happened.
    Your family get-together sounds wonderful, and you were all safe inside a comfy hotel with swivel chairs, so it was all good.

  4. Quite some entertainment you put on for the family!
    Glad you are all safe.( I remember 65! )

  5. You must have been so happy to celebrate the special birthday - and with loving family around too. Glad you all had a grand time.

  6. We did wonder where you were! Looks a lovely celebration, and the near-inundation of the venue will surely make it all the more memorable in years to come.

  7. Congratulations to Mr. Life! And to you!

  8. Very pleased that you didn't get washed away ( or stranded!) Sounds like a wonderful family get together. I love the photo of the 2 little ones asleep in the pushchair.

  9. Presumably the hotel manager thought that Mr. Life's birthday deserved their full Banqueting Service , complete with moat .
    You all look as though you're enjoying every minute , anyway ... a lovely family memory .