In the fields adjacent to Lake Windermere the water shifts in wide unseen courses beneath the turf - like a large sub-cutaneous injection or an abscess on a horse’s knee. If the analogy sounds revolting, it is meant to: the instability of the ground is unnaturally creepy and disconcerting.
people have had to move out of flooded homes, while unfortunate businesses have
been forced to close temporarily. The Swan Hotel & Spa, situated in a
beautiful location close to the south end of Lake Windermere, was just one of
several properties that found the water too close for comfort last weekend. It
is one of the most popular local hotels, produces excellent food and also
happens to sponsor generously at Cartmel Racecourse each season; for many good
reasons, we wish the managers the best of fortune and hope they’ll be able to reopen
But Cumbria is
not closed. In fact the weather on Monday, as I strolled around Cartmel in my
shirtsleeves, was almost balmy. The shops were open, the pubs were open and the
Christmas lights were on, despite messages from North West Electric to use
their power sparingly.
Sadly, as Cartmel’s shopkeepers optimistically tended
their tills, customers there were few. The reason
was obvious: According to the e-mails in my inbox and the texts on my phone, we
must be drowned, depressed and drummed into submission: everyone has seen it on
camera lies. Secretly, all Cumbrians have been quietly counting their winnings
from Jimmy Moffatt’s famous win in the Becher Chase at a rain-sodden Aintree
last Saturday (except for me of course, because I’m not really a Cumbrian and I
tipped Pineau De Re). Don’t tell anyone, but we’re all wondering how to get
enough money on Highland Lodge for the Grand National next April, without
wrecking the odds. Did you hear about the £50 million pledged by the Government
to help Cumbrian flood victims? It’s all going on Highland Lodge.
And just to
prove that the racing industry is thriving in Cumbria, the team at Carlisle
Racecourse has decided to open the gates for free for racing this Sunday. Which
is especially nice if you want to go and watch Jimmy’s next winner: Quel Elite
in the Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier.
So, if you’ve
been thinking about coming to Cartmel for a spot of Christmas shopping, backing
a winner at Carlisle or simply enjoying a lunch in one of those incomparable
Cumbrian pubs, forget the news: Cumbria is open for business.