I just wanted to express my thanks to all those who got in touch to make sure I was Okay during the recent horrendous weather in my neck of the woods.
Other than a little wind damage to my garden, I got off very lightly when compared to many other people in my county. The floods were devestating: homes flooded, businesses destroyed, tourists staying away, and bridges collapsing were only a few of the headlines flashing around the world. Perhaps the most poignant story was that of PC Bill Barker who died in the act of saving a bus load of people on a collapsing bridge. I take my hat off to Bill, and say, 'Well done'. Bill is a true hero.
Following the wettest day on record, I got back to doing what authors do. I was writing again, watching stuff swooping past my windows carried on the high winds - but always had one ear on the TV playing behind me, listening to the unfolding of the tragedy around me. On Wednesday this week, I sought to escape the horrendous weather, and headed over the Pennines to the relative safety of York, to do a library event at Acomb library with top psychological crime author Sophie Hannah. Enroute the weather was absolutely atrocious, but I made it there. Then the weather caught up with me. Not as bad, but bad enough, and the rain lashed York like it had been in Cumbria for the past five days or so. On the return journey on Thursday things were almost as bad, but i made it home to some nice blue sky for a change. Yeah, right. it was still lashing down from the heavens. But I'm not complaining. I could return to my writing, but have to admit to thinking more than once about those in blue, green, brown and high-vis uniforms who are still out there still trying to do good for the people of Cumbria.
Someone asked me recently: 'Do you miss being in the police?'
I replied: 'Apart from the camaraderie, no. Not ONE bit.'
But I have to admit, when all was falling to pieces around me, I did get that urge to go and put my waterproofs on and go do my bit. The only thing that stopped me? I knew that I'd only be getting in someone else's way. So, I've realised, my place is now at this laptop. The good I can do for the people of Cumbria is to continue writing and try to give them something else to be proud of. Compared to Bill Barker's sacrifice, mine is only a very small thing indeed.