Sunday, 6 June 2010

Coastal Cumbria Cares



Our sincere thoughts and hugs go to the bereaved families who live along beautiful coastal Cumbria.

Not much has been written in the press about Whitehaven, itself and the coast. It is seventy miles away from where we live on the Northumbrian/Cumbrian border.

Whitehaven has an annual thriving international festival centred around a Jazz festival. Read about it here.

Read about the coastal towns of Cumbria here and here.

The Romans in Lakeland here.

As you can imagine the whole area is still in shock at what happened during most of last Wednesday.

Cumbria - as much as Northumberland - is largely a crime free area. Communities are very close. Families still live cheek by jowl. The local papers usually struggle to find news...it is usually about leek shows, animal shows, steam rally shows, tourism, children going to school for the first time and having their photo taken. Perhaps the odd fight does occur after too many drinks taken.

It is true that something horrendous has happened in our midst...but bad things go on elsewhere in the world too.

I've lived in a few cities in the UK and abroad and I'd plump for living in the country every time. People are friendly. I walk down Haltwhistle high street and everyone smiles and says hello. That never happened when I lived in the poshest areas of London.

Last week someone had left his car keys sticking out of the boot of his Jaguar. I happened to notice this as I was reversing my car (again this was on the high street of Haltwhistle). I didn't know what to do. Though not for one moment was I going to ignore the situation. Chances were that no-one would steal the car even if I drove away. I decided to pop the keys into the florist just by where the car was parked. The florist was more than happy to look out for the driver to hand over the keys on his/her return.

People help other people. When I was out one day with my two little ones our dog escaped and ran down to the local burn (stream). Two families immediately came to my rescue.

Cars stop to let farmers herd their stock across busy and quiet roads. There is no road rage.

People stop and chat to one another in the street. So even I have to remember to allow plenty of time to do our shopping and getting petrol...people take time to talk to one another. And that same process applies to me now even as a newcomer.

Yes...there is gossip and people do grumble. But most of all they care.

When you read the newspapers over the weekend...think about the families affected...just going about their normal day to day lives...this will have an effect for generations to come. Nevertheless those families and communities will pull together to get through all of this. (After all, they've survived pit disasters, world wars and much more besides. Even the rise and fall of the Romans...) Indeed they truly are the strong, warm and heroic ones...

22 comments:

the fly in the web said...

I wonder if that is why we find the events so shocking....so bizarre in such a society.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I agree with you, Fly, it is all the more shocking when normally everything is so quiet and calm.

Expat mum said...

Nice post H. It's was a terrible thing and the families must be devastated.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Yep. I didn't know whether I wanted to write about this or not but felt I had to.

I read on the BBC website just now that a lot of the families want to commemorate their loved one in a good way.

I wanted to write about what is good rather than what is bad. I think we often concentrate too much on the latter rather than the former.

That's not to detract from what has happened. I don't want it to overshadow the places and the people.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Do blogs last forever or do they just fade away into the ether? I also thought it was important to mark such a momentous event simply out of respect for the Cumbrian people at this shattering time. In the future I will now be able to remind myself of exactly when it happened and remember the victims' names.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I agree with you, YP. I'm trying not to be too intrusive (and I am not saying that you are). I'm just aware that for me it might be too close to call. There are at least two families locally who have directly affected by the tragedy. I liked your tribute to them all. :)

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

It must seems doubly hard coming so soon after that school bus crash there too. You expect that kind of thing in big cities but notg in an idyllic little place out in the country.

French Fancy said...

I spent a lovely day in Whitehaven on our last Lakeland holiday - and had a photo taken in front of an interesting statue right in the centre of town. It was mundane things like this that came into my head when watching the dreadful footage. With shock our mind goes over to inane stuff I think. I just could not believe what I was seeing.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

ADDY: Yes. It is at times like this that words just do not seem adequate. The local Cumbrian papers are full of the news but I cannot bring myself to buy them. Goodness knows what the bereaved families are feeling right now.

FF: I know what you mean. We've not visited Whitehaven yet. I still want to follow the trail of the Romans all over Cumbria (and just generally explore Cumbria which I don't know as well as Northumbria). When I first heard about it all I kept thinking was that our dog trainer had links with Whitehaven. We felt fear too when they were broadcasting for West Cumbria and Central Cumbria folk to stay indoors. It's stupid, I know, but we were planning to go to Talking Tarn - a fantastic outdoor lake and walking area near Brampton - that afternoon. It was miles away from the events but I was concerned that somehow we would be caught up in it. Talking Tarn is miles away from the West Coast. I'm finding hard to articulate how I feel. I think the mind finds it easier to concentrate on little details. The broader situation is too much to take in. I think that is how the brain works. The only way to cope with things.

I remember what when we scattered my great uncle's ashes in Greenwich Park. I recited a poem in Spanish by Lorca and I burst out laughing at one line. I felt that I was doing my great uncle a disservice by laughing but in retrospect I see it as a coping mechanism.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Meant to say "hi" expatmum! Sorry I sounded so brusque!

French Fancy said...

It's all timing isn't it - just think, the shopper who stayed in chatting to the shopkeeper for a few minutes longer than usual and who might very well have been out on the street and in target - I wonder how many people from Whitehaven are counting their blessings like this

Btw I forgot to say how nice it is when I see a blog post from you - I know what a busy life you have but you have been missed

x

Previously (Very) Lost in France said...

Hadriana, I echo everything you say about life and people in the country. It was a truly appalling thing that happened but, given time and space, I'd rate their chances of recovery far higher in a close-knit rural community than in a city any day.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

FF, thanks for that.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I will blog away and sadly just not get round some many other people's blogs to comment as I used to. I just do not have the time! That's not to say that I don't think about you all lots. I will try to pop over as and when I can!

P(V)LiF: I agree with you too. Thank you too for popping by.

You can tell I used to go to a Catholic School. My guilt factor is high in not getting over to other blogs....

By the way...I am not singling anyone out for not popping over. By the time I get the children to bed in the evening...such is life. Tiring but I enjoy it all.

Today we were over at a Tourism meeting at Chollerford learning about different types of media. I'm seriously thinking about Twitter now (as well as blogging). Everyone is still tweeting away when I thought it would be chirp itself out. How wrong I was...

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Lots of typos and misspellings and grammatical twerpage (above).

You know. I'm trying to be less perfectionist these days....and it's working!!!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

perfectionist/perfectionistic...

...........

and so


to bed.........imperfectly...

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Indeed it was a shocking event last Wednesday Hadriana. So many different thoughts about all of those affected in any way. I do hope they are left in peace very soon to begin coping with their lives again. A x

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Yes, SJA, they need to be left alone after today - hopefully - with all the support from whom/whenever/wherever it is required. At the right time.

Thanks for popping over.

Nota Bene said...

terrible, terrible tragedy...and all the more shocking because it's not the sort of place that you would expect it to happen in. Much synpathy to all the families and friends who have been affected.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hunter Davies finishes his wonderful book on the Wall...talking about his journey along the Wall: "I wish it had been longer". As always life and journey go hand in hand. I'm sure, NB, that many people in Cumbria will be wishing that their loved ones' lives had been longer.

I'm also reminded of the opening lines of Dante's Inferno:

"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selve oscura
che la diritta via era smarrita."

"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost."

Let's hope that they will find their way out of that horrible, wretched, dark forest of pain...it will take time but they will get there in the end.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

per una selva oscura

Lakeland Jo said...

what an excellent post Hadriana- well thought out, compassionate and positive too.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you, Lakeland Jo. Thanks for saying that.:)