Visiting Moorland

Our group were extremely lucky to be invited to Moorland to talk to Janet Winslade and her son James about the effect that the flooding had upon their lives. Janet has lived in her home for 50 years and in that time has never had her home flooded which meant that the events of the last 12 months have been extremely difficult for her and her family.

I have spoken to Janet about her experiences before but it is always the details that surprise me. In my experience it has taught me that many of us make conclusions about what must have happened but in reality we really have not idea of the reality of the flooding or what challenges still face the communities. I was hoping that the meeting would have the same effect on the rest of group and I was really pleased to see that the encounter left all of us with a far deeper understanding.

Looking at the repairs to the River Parrett

When writing of his experience after the visit Laurence said ‘from the field visit, it was immediately apparent that flooding was not an obvious threat. When we were shown the levels that the floods reached, I was astounded. The episode has profoundly shaped the family and has triggered them into becoming experts about the flood hazard and the current wrangling to mitigate them. The community spirit that this event has fostered was evident with several young farmers still helping to clear the debris. Hopefully this response will help alleviate the risk in the future, yet one could argue why this could not have happened before the event. Janet’s strength of personality and resilience in lieu of the devastation to her house and personal history was inspiring. This event has shaped the Winslade’s and the local community for the foreseeable future.’

Some of the damage still remains from the floods

I think the experience is also helping to shape the work. Josie is still working tirelessly on her illustrations but her latest drawing, which is shown below, really demonstrates the effect that, hearing first hand, how the flooding affected the community has on the work. You will see Josie’s uses many of the facts we heard. Janet told us that the water came across the land from the west and high winds resulted in damage to the buildings, which is referenced on the right of the drawing. James telling us that the insurance companies disputed whether flooding or storms, referenced on the top left, of the illustration, caused the damage also fascinated us. Each time I look at Josie’s work I can see more and more of Janet and James’ story.

Moorland sketch

Post written by Andrea Oke, Josie Ashe and Laurence Hawker.


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