Cockermouth Floods and my Twitter Disappointment

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I didn’t post on Friday because I was glued to the television news, watching my former hometown of Cockermouth being devastated by floods.

Cockermouth is a small town on the edge of the Lake District, in northern England. I met my husband whilst at school there and many of my fondest memories are of time spent in Cockermouth.

To keep this post vaguely book related, here is a photo of the book shop I used to enjoy browsing in:


Cockermouth is also the birthplace of William Wordsworth and his former home has also been damaged by the flood waters.

I no longer live near Cockermouth, but still know a large number of people in the town. On Friday I was was searching everywhere for information as to which areas had been affected and whether everyone was safe. As a big user of Twitter this was one of the first places I looked. I had hoped to find tweets from people in the area, who would have a much better idea of what was happening, but instead I was saddened to see that 90%+ of the tweets were making fun of the town’s name. I had to read every single one of these insults in order to find the one or two useful tweets. This only made a terrible situation worse for me and the countless other people searching for news of their loved ones. If you search for Cockermouth on Twitter now you will find that about 50% of the tweets are informative, or supportive of the plight of the owners of the 1300 homes that have been affected – the rest are still childish jokes.

I was also shocked to discover that a minority of people from local towns were objecting to flood victims shopping in their supermarket. I cannot believe how insensitive some people are.

The good news is that the vast majority of people in Cockermouth are doing everything they can to help. The emergency services have done a fantastic job and the community is really pulling together at this difficult time.

I am sure that Cockermouth will be rebuilt, better than it was before, but it is sad to know that so many of the places I know and love will never be the same again.

Photos of the flood taken by local professional photographer.

BBC news flood photo gallery

Details of how to help the Cumbrian flood victims

Have you ever been the victim of flooding?

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  1. Sandy says:

    There are always rotten apples in the bunch. Those obnoxious, immature, rude kids in grade school that made your life miserable? Well, they grow up to be obnoxious, immature rude adults that make fun of people in their hour of need. I feel for these people. We get more than our share of flooding here in Florida, and in 2004, we almost lost our house. It is awful. I will say a prayer for them all.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I actually thought that most people grew out of that sort of thing. I must be good at picking the people I spend time with as I don’t know anyone like that. Sorry to hear that you suffer from flooding too. I hope that your home never comes under threat again.

  2. Beth F says:

    I am speechless on both accounts: the devastation and the insensitivity. I will be sending positive thoughts to the residents.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Amanda says:

    Wow that is just terrible, both the flooding and the ridiculousness of people. I understand exactly where you’re coming from. When we lived in Wisconsin, it was very near two towns: Dickeyville and Gays Mills. You can imagine what people say about these things. Last year, Gays Mills was destroyed by flood for the second time in a year, and all people could talk about was the name. I just sat there watching the people say on the news that they didn’t know if t hey would even try to rebuild this second time, and remembering all the apple festivals that took place in Gays Mills and how sad I was to hear they may just give up. :/

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, I’m sorry to hear about your flooding. I hope that they decided to rebuild and now have those wonderful apple festivals up and running again.

      I keep seeing pictures of destroyed Christmas decorations in Cockermouth and keep remembering the wonderful Christmas lights they had each year – it is so sad when these festivities don’t happen.

  4. Misfit says:

    I am saddened to hear people being so insensitive, and to hear that people are making jokes about it on twitter. For the first time in 30 years in the same home I might be facing the possibility of evacuation for floods (long story with a dam repair issue) and it’s not one I’m looking forward to. These people had no control over the weather and we should be helping them not laughing and complaining about them storming the shops for supplies.

    1. Jackie says:

      Misfit, I’m so sorry to hear about your flooding threat. I really hope that it never happens.

      1. Misfit says:


        I hope so too. I’ll probably camp out at the office and I can just see the thrill on the boss and controller’s faces when I come with two cats!

  5. diane says:

    dreadful situation indeed. i have never been a true flooding victim, but i must say I way brought to tears several years ago when we had about an inch of water in out basement when some dirt gave way around the foundation…..silly i know.

    to be affected by flood, tornado, hurricane has to me the ultimate devastation.

    1. Jackie says:

      diane, don’t feel silly for being upset about your basement – any damage to your home is upsetting. I hope that you managed to get it all fixed.

  6. Simon S says:

    It is awful what has happened there, some of my family live not too far from there and are helping from what I gather. As you know I was flooded this very Friday gone, though nothing on this level.

    There will always be people being silly on certain sites, part of the reason am not on them much. I don’t think many people if being flooded will be on Twitter though will they? Surely electrics have been shut off down there. Hopefully the town will be restored and as gorgeous as it was before. None of your family are still there are they?

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, Where do your family live? I’m pleased to hear that they are helping. My parents moved away from the area two months ago, so I no longer have any family in Cockermouth. It is mainly just the perents of my school friends that I know there now, as most of my friends have now moved away now too.

  7. Some people are just terrible. It sucks that something like Twitter can bring that out in a time when people could use help. I’m sorry to hear about the town and hope things will be ok there.

  8. softdrink says:

    What a heartbreaking photo. I’d heard of the flooding in Cumbria but hadn’t seen any photos…or heard of the hateful things being said. :-(

    1. Jackie says:

      softdrink, I’m pleased that I’ve been able to inform you of the situation. Hopefully things will get better there soon.

  9. The pictures look terrible, and the reaction of some of the crass individuals sounds terrible. I really hope things get resolved quickly, and the town is built better than before.

    It’s a pity when such hell breaks loose, and the people on Twitter make it even worse!

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, thank you for your kind words.

  10. mee says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Jackie. I’ve experienced flood a lot of times in my younger life and it’s really devastating event. Hope the town is able to raise again soon.

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, sorry to hear that you once suffered from a flood.

  11. bookmagic says:

    How awful! I would be devastated to lose my home and even more so to think people were mocking instead of supporting. Twitter could have been used for good but there are always those that think nothing bad will happen to them and therefore are insensitive to others

    1. Jackie says:

      bookmagic, I wonder if their attitude would change if they were affected by something like this? Some people just don’t think about what they say.

  12. Kathleen says:

    How terrible. I’m sure you were devastated to see this happening and to be helpless to do anything about it. And to have insensitive people posting things to Twitter…I guess these tragedies bring out the best AND the worst in people.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, You are right – disasters/wars bring out the best and worst in people. It is sometimes sad to see who becomes bad in these situations and who is a force for good – it isn’t always they way you expect it to turn out.

  13. Jenny says:

    What a terrible thing to have happen. I’m saddened that people in nearby towns are resentful of flood victims shopping in their supermarkets, but not surprised. Whenever a hurricane starts heading down our way, people get pretty territorial; after Katrina in 2005, a lot of really ugly things were said about the New Orleans evacuees. :(

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I heard what happended to the New Orleans evacuees. That was a far worse situation. I could barely believe some of the things I heard happended in that city. Shocking beyond words.

  14. Beth says:

    I was also glued to the news channel watching the events in Cockermouth. My heart goes out to all those that have been affected by this disaster, and of course the death of the policeman, Bill Barker.
    I think that there will always be some that feel that mocking the situation and looking after their own is the right way to behave.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, It is good to know I wasn’t the only one glued to the news and the death of the policeman was so tragic. It is a miracle that more people didn’t lose their lives – especially given the number of elderly residents near the river. Those rescue workers must have done an amazing job.

  15. Juxtabook says:

    It is truely awful watching scenes of Cockermouth and people’s stupid comments about the name are depressing. It is a lovely town, less touristy than other parts of the Lakes, and as a result full of real locals not just holiday cottages. I really hope they get the funds and support to sort the infrastructure out soon.

    1. Jackie says:

      Juxtabook, It is less touristy than many parts of the Lake District, but it still relies on tourists for a large portion of its income. I hope that the tourists keep coming next year.

  16. FleurFisher says:

    We were heartbroken for the people of Cockermouth when the reports of what was happening came through. That people could respond with anything but compassion is… well words fail me.

    You may remember seeing pictures of the town of Boscastle, not far from me, devastated by floods a few years ago. The community spirit and reconstruction there afterwards has been amazing. I hope it will be the same in Cockermouth.

  17. Rebecca Reid says:

    I had a very real dream of going to Wordworth’s birthplace for my honeymoon! But we didn’t go there. I still hope to some day make it there.

    I’m so sad to hear about the flooding and I”m sorry for the devastation this must be for you, having live there! I’m sorry there were insensitive people making a joke of it all!

  18. paul says:

    You know people dont understand how heartbreaking and devastsing it is to be flooded out.It can take months to even dry out before the rebuild begins.ok so yes i am on here advertising my company based in Worcester i have travelled to cumbria to offer my help. With money so tight the last thing you need to find is an insurance excess to begin to put your life back together.We will take on all the headache and get you back in to your property as soon as we can and we will pay your excess too. If you have been flooded out and need urgent help call us we are available 24hrs a day 365 days a year 0800 058 8141

  19. At the time of the floods I was living in station street it was very scary( even got evacuated upto the School) but some how did’nt seem real. I can’t beleive water levels reahced first floor windows but I saw it with my own eyes. It was most dissapointing to see the negative Tweets but at least now there are some more sensible ones been posted. It’s a shame about the Supermarket business but perhaps they did’nt catch on how bad it was.

    1. Jackie says:

      Wayne, I can’t believe the water really got that high, so can see how difficult it would be to to realise it had happened – even if I had witnessed it. It is great that the tweets are more sensible now – the abusive ones were hard for me to read. I hope life gets back to normal in Cockermouth as quickly as possible.

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