Wading through the brown, murky water I peered around nervously. It was only shin deep now but the news said the worst was yet to come. My eyes welled up at the sight of the once immaculate living room. The beige carpet which we spent hours choosing was completely ruined. I could just see my mother laughing in her crimson armchair with a drink of tea and one hand a cigarette in the other. She would be heartbroken if she saw this now. As if snapping back into reality I felt a small hand tugged at my waist, “Daddy don’t you think that our house looks like a swimming pool”. I really didn’t want my son to see this but he persisted on getting back his favourite toy whilst we were staying at my sister’s cottage. All of a sudden he stopped and headed for the stairs. ‘I can hear a noise’ was all he said. Picking him up we climbed the creaking staircase together. I could faintly hear it too. The noise was muffled and came from my son’s bedroom across the landing. ‘Stay here Alfie, let me go first’, unsure of what was in there I reached for the door handle. The blue door was slightly ajar. Alfie standing behind me, nervously gripped my hand and I gave his a gentle squeeze to reassure him. Pushing it open together we were shocked at what we saw. A stray tabby cat with two tiny kittens was laid on his bed. ‘Kitties!’ My son brushed past me and made a beeline for the animals. Their little furry bodies, huddled close together for warmth were so thin. ‘Daddy can we keep them?! They need a new home like us and and and please pleaseeeee’. I could tell from this moment Alfie was completely besotted. We had lost an awful lot due to the freak weather so any happiness I could bring my son I would gladly accept. They were definitely stray cats, three of them in total.
That was three months ago. Now Tily, Tabby and Tiny are just like us, they have a brand new home and a brand new start. After seeing them so vulnerable it made me realise that the terrible flood affected everybody. They were fragile for a while but Alfie helped to nurse them back to health. It gave him a project, something to take his mind of the loss of our possessions and ruined house. He now wishes to be a veterinarian when he grows up. These stray cats gave him happiness at a time when he needed it the most. Not everybody was lucky though people are still living in B&Bs whilst the clean-up operation is still under way. The downstairs of our lovely home was completely engulfed by over a foot of filthy water from the Thames. It was trashed, so I decided to move the both of us with cats in tow to a cottage near my sister’s where we are rebuilding our lives.