The Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, a place close to my heart, has been in the news over the last few days due to severe flooding. A beautiful area comprising, amongst others, the towns of Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, it is where I spent many happy times back in the 1970’s.

Peter’s parents had moved to Mytholmroyd in January 1973, and their new home had once been a public house, ‘The Huntsman’. They were the first domestic occupants since it had closed for business.

In October 1975 there was torrential rain as a result of which the centre of Mytholmroyd flooded, much like it has over the last few days.

You would have thought The Huntsman, being situated some way up a steep hill, would have been relatively safe, but a blocked culvert further up meant that it wasn’t.

I can’t remember now why we were there, as we had been married for over 2 years by that time and had our own place, but anyway we were there.

The water flooded down the hill quickly filling up the Huntsman’s vast cellars and rising into the rooms on the ground floor. That was bad enough, but the real problem was outside.

As the rain fell the flow of water down the hill became deeper and stronger to the stage where it felt like the house had been built in the middle of a fast running river.

At teatime it was dark, and Peter’s younger sister was expected home from work, so we decided to wade down to the main road to meet her off the bus, assuming that the bus had been able to get through. (Younger readers need to understand this was a time before mobile phones.)

Fortunately the bus and Ed made it OK and the 3 of us set off back up the hill to the Huntsman. Normally we all used the back door, but we knew the water at the back of the house was worse than the front, so we didn’t even try the normal route.

In the event that was probably one of our wiser decisions, as it became clear the following day that the huge wooden cover/trapdoor thing that normally sat over the hole into the cellar where barrels of beer would have been delivered, had washed away down the hill with the force of the water. What remained was a gaping hole into the flooded cellar below, which was just outside the back door.

Had we tried to use the back door the previous evening we would not have known it was missing and one or all of us could have fallen straight into the cellar. Indeed, if we had not gone to meet Ed from the bus, she would surely have gone round the back as normal and fallen down it, resulting in devastating if not fatal consequences.

So when I saw all the pictures on the news I was taken back to that night 35 years ago and couldn’t help wondering how the present occupants of the Huntsman were fairing.