Skip to content

Flood Rescue

January 26, 2020

It’s a drizzly grey morning up here on our Welsh mountain.  And remembering another rainy day long ago, I thought I’d post a haibun of mine featuring a wonderful man who was a major influence on me through the first 29 years of my life: my Grandad Dawson.

The greatest compliment ever paid me was from my late dad when he told me I was very like Grandad Dawson.

My haibun ‘Flood Rescue’, published in the November 2019 issue of Blithe Spirit, tells a true story I’d long wanted to write. Hope you like it.

Have a good Sunday, Everyone.

Paul

 

FLOOD RESCUE

 

Now, as then, rain pelts the windscreen, hazing my view.  An unnamed road curves towards the village church, its proud tower defying the elements.

Now, as then, between stone walls strangled in ivy, the unnamed road is flooded a foot deep.  Murky water spills from a swamped pasture and overflows a hidden brook.

Fifty years ago, my dad was driving, I sitting next to him.  Today, I am driving, my partner sitting next to me.

Then, a dove grey Vauxhall Victor with column gear-change stood abandoned in the flooded road, water up to its doors.  Today, the unnamed road is closed with flood signs and there are no abandoned vehicles.

Fifty years ago, the Victor’s owner stood sheltering beneath the overhanging frontage of a half-timbered pub opposite the church.  Today, I see him only in memory, but vividly.  He was standing as if to attention in his dark overcoat and pale trilby, patiently waiting for us.  A veteran of the Great War, decorated for bravery in the trenches, later a Chief Inspector of police, he was my grandad.

Dad and I, we took him home.  And some years later I inherited the dove grey Victor with column gear-change.

Today, I tell the tale again to my partner, and she smiles.

my stalactite

in a matchbox…

that early trip in his car

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019, 2020

4 Comments
  1. Maureen Weldon permalink

    Flood Rescue, one of my favorite haibun written by my darling Paul. Yes a haibun I can read again and again.
    From,
    Maureen XXX

    • Thank you my darling Maureen. ‘Flood Rescue’ is certainly one of my own favourites too.

      Of course you know better than anyone how I love to drive up that unnamed road, towards the half-timbered pub opposite the church. How I still see my wonderful Grandad Dawson standing there, as if to attention, beneath the pub’s overhanging frontage, sheltering from the pelting rain. That whole scene is indelibly imprinted on my mind from that day of the flood fifty years ago.

      I only wish you could have met my Grandad, with his ginger ‘tache and blue eyes. I wish I could have met your Dad too. Comparing photographs, the similarities between these two special men are striking. And, as we’ve so often remarked, they’d have got on like a house on fire.

      With love,

      Paul xxx

  2. This was a lovely haibun. Every person has someone special in their lives. This special person shapes their behaviour, thinking and character. Yours seem to have been your granddad. I can visualize somebody standing in a long overcoat, taking shelter from the heavy rains. This haiku leaves a powerful impact too.

    • Thanks Padmini, I’m especially pleased you like ‘Flood Rescue’ as my Grandad Dawson, who died in 1975, aged 82, was indeed a major influence on my life.

      A Great War veteran, decorated for bravery in the trenches, Grandad became a policeman and rose to the rank of Chief Inspector. He was also a talented self-taught violinist and a brilliant raconteur, who in later life drew on his experiences to hold his family in thrall. Any talent I possess for storytelling I owe to him.

      The haiku concluding ‘Flood Rescue’ relates to a trip Grandad took myself and two younger brothers on when we were boys back in the mid-‘50s, to Poole’s Hole near Buxton in the Peak District, vast limestone caverns with crystal stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. What an experience!

      Good luck with your writing in 2020.

      Take care,

      Paul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: