Like some others, we live in a flood zone. Our house is on the river's edge. After 2 days of heavy rain this week, the river's level rose alarmingly quickly. Last week, the Orbieu was a gentle trickle in this quiet and serene part of the Aude. Last night, the sound of rain hammering down on the roof was accompanied by that of the river gushing past at high speed. Météo France website confirms we are "Vigilance Orange", so I follow the link to "Vigicrues", find the Lagrasse station, and monitor the rising level of the Orbieu. In about 8 hours, it had gone from zero to TWO metres! Helpfully, VIgicrues lists the three highest levels of the Orbieu - in 1999 it was over 7 metres high! So, I started to think "What if we had to leave in a hurry? What to bring? What to abandon?". So I poured a glass of wine (naturally) and began to make a mental list:
Laptops, handbag (for me), wallet (for him), mobile phones + chargers. I paused, thinking there must be other essential items. Think! So I had another glass of wine, and added:
My jewellery (don't have much and nothing very valuable except for sentimental value), toothbrush, hairbrush, do I need the hairdryer? If I need the hairdryer, should I bring the styling mousse? What about Henry's shaving gear? After all, what if we had to evacuate and couldn't get back for, say, a week or more? So I had another glass of wine and envisaged myself calmly grabbing a suitcase and throwing in some clothes (yes, we would need a change of clothes for sure) and if we were going to pack a suitcase, then I could bring all sorts of stuff. I had another glass of wine and moved on to mentally packing a second suitcase. By this stage it was midnight, so I had a nightcap of Armagnac and checked the river level again on the Vigicrues website. If the river had continued to rise at the same rate as earlier, it would have been TOO LATE! We would have been trapped in the house. Thankfully, on this occasion, the level was dropping off.
So, given short notice, what should you bring with you in an emergency?