In October when I had to abandon my beloved caravan for the winter my daughter suggested that I should plan ahead and spend a couple of days each month at a Premier Inn. So I paid up my £32 a night and duly booked Newcastle, Kendal and Ashington.
Last month in Newcastle I stayed at the wonderful waterfront listed building on the quayside and had meals looking at the Tyne bridge. The only criticism I have of it is that the wireless internet was absolute crap. The rest of it was so perfect I hesitated about coming home!
This month was to be Kendal. Unfortunately the awful flooding in Cumbria put me off rather but I went anyway. The River Kent had gone down but there are dozens of homes and businesses which people have had to leave. Outside on the pavements all their furniture, but the thing that really got me was that a lot of them couldn't get through to their insurance brokers and were advised to go online. The electricity has been off in Carlisle and other places so what were they to do. For some of them this is the second flood in six years. How heartbreaking. I know what it's like, I have been flooded. I remember my perfectly sanded and varnished maple floor disappearing beneath inches of water which had been through the sewage station first I think. I tried to carry out the deep fat fryer, slipped and after that kept falling in again and again with oil on top of sewage.
My husband, being brighter than a lot of people, went off and bought a pump . He didn't want the rescue people anywhere near our pale pink carpets which were also brand new. We pumped the damned water out ourselves and me, at thirty six, and full of pluck,stood and cooked dinner in my wellies in six inches of water. Wow. Just call me Noah.
The Premier Inn in Kendal has perfect beds and if the lovely staff thought the strange older lady who lost her rag all too quickly over small matters was completely nuts I don't have the patience that I had at thirty six.
Less than a year after my beautiful maple floor was ruined my husband died and my life was ruined. It never got back to where it had been or maybe I should say that it never moved on in certain ways. I am forever banging my head against some bloody ceiling beyond which my happiness once was.
I feel as though my capacity to recover is at full stretch and so must those poor people in Cumbria must feel. You get to the point where if your internet doesn't work as mine doesn't on my phone now that the stupid Premier Inn internet knocked something about it, and the wine you are drinking too much of is rubbish, you lose it.
Your cafe is underwater, all the Christmas plans you made are horribly defunct and once again life is shitting on you from a great height. After I reached Kendal I discovered that they had just pulled some poor bloke dead out of the river. I have a very close relationship with rivers, since my husband drowned and some canoeists found my daughter unconscious.
So, with my friend Leah Fleming, I did what I could. I went to Kendal, I spent lots of money, I laughed and talked and ate and drank and wrote with my laptop on my little table in the Premier Inn's dining room. But please, if anybody from there should ever read this, talk to however provides the wine list there. It really is bloody awful and you can take it from me because I drink an awful lot of wine. It tops me shrieking from the rooftops when stupid things go wrong.