“They told everyone else about the tide, but not me” Norfolk woman tells of floods lucky escape

Carol Bowes lost everything when the barge she lived in on Boal Quay in King's Lynn was damaged during the floods last week. Picture: Ian Burt Carol Bowes lost everything when the barge she lived in on Boal Quay in King's Lynn was damaged during the floods last week. Picture: Ian Burt

Monday, December 16, 2013
6:47 AM

A west Norfolk woman has described how she was rescued from the barge she called home, along with her beloved pets, during last week’s tidal surge.

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Carol Bowes lost everything when the barge she lived in on Boal Quay in King's Lynn was damaged during the floods last week. Picture: Ian BurtCarol Bowes lost everything when the barge she lived in on Boal Quay in King's Lynn was damaged during the floods last week. Picture: Ian Burt

Carol Ann Bowes, 67, was on the barge on the River Nar at Boal Quay when water began to pour into the vessel.

“The trouble was they had told everybody else about the tide but not me,” she said. “At 8 o’clock water started coming in through the cat flap.

“I looked outside and the gang plank had turned over so I couldn’t get off.

“I wouldn’t say I wasn’t scared, I was, I’m only human.”

Mrs Bowes called a friend who was able to alert nearby fire crews to her location.

The team set out with some wading through the water until a boat could be brought to transport Mrs Bowes and her cat, Oush, 17, to safety before the team returned for Greta, a six-year-old German Shepherd.

“The water was up to my waist,” said Mrs Bowes, who had lived on the 130ft barge for 20 years.

“My dog was sitting on the sofa and my 17-year-old cat was swimming around.

“I lost my voice shouting. I rang a friend and he didn’t believe me at first but he did come down.

“It was quite frightening, especially when you are on your own.”

Mrs Bowes also praised the fire service crew who rescued her and the support she had been given since.

She said: “The fire crew were brilliant, especially with the animals.

“They put the cat in with me and they went straight back for the dog.

“Luckily it didn’t happen a few years ago as I had another two German Shepherds so I don’t know what they would have done.”

After being taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn to be checked out for hypothermia Mrs Bowes has been staying at the King’s Lynn Residential Home, in Austin Fields, while she looks for a new home.

15 comments

  • I agree the lady should perhaps have taken more notice of weather and flood warnings,but why on earth is it inappropriate to live on a barge ?that is a mean and totally unnecessary comment .

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • And another EDP sob story about someone living somewhere inappropriate because it is fanciful or cheap. Would they have a story about travellers not being warned about winds strong enough to blow caravans over? No is likely the answer. If people want to live like water borne travellers they should use their brains about the place they are living.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • ....."“At 8 o’clock water started coming in through the cat flap."......this just shows you how dangerous it is to put a cat flap in a boat.....

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • I have to say there are some very compassionate remarks on this article. NOT! Having an opinion is great but if you are going to berate someone who has had a misfortune keep it to yourself as I for one am sick of reading nastiness on these articles whether it be of the reporters efforts or of the persons involved. I wonder who would be "whinging" or "dealing with the consequences" if they were in the same boat. Scuse the pun!

    Report this comment

    Northern Lad

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • That barge has more internal space than a lot of new properties so I don't see it as same as travellers, good on you for not conforming to normal living. Glad you all got out safe and sound but don't blame others for not warning you about a tidal surge that was heavily covered by the media days before it happened.

    Report this comment

    Skoalbandit

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • ....."The boat has a TV antenna, what does she watch on TV?".....I think the dog keeps his paws firmly on the tv remote and he only watches the shopping channels. The cat, who is 17 years old by the way, doesn't get a choice.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • Sorry, am I missing something. Does the lady in question have radio or tv at her disposal. I feel she hoped the problem would go away.. It didn't so deal with the consequences and stop winging.

    Report this comment

    MIKEJ

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • Why doesn't she move her boat to St Helens Road in Walcott. She could then enjoy all the benefits of living on a boat, but with friendly neighbours in the same boat (sic) and a place to stay when the water reaches the cat flap (The Lighthouse Pub).

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • Could Ms. Bowes be the first boat owner not interested in the weather? why did she stay putt? The boat has a TV antenna, what does she watch on TV? there is a weather forecast after every news? This half report should tell us why the boat was not afloat on the rising tide, why the water flooded into the barge in the first place.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • I was against the removal of the flood siren warning and this has been another classic example of the failure of its replacement - text and email alerts from the Environment Agency. Yes, I've signed up, twice, because of previous failures, but I received nothing from them on Thursday or at any other time over the last 4 years or so, and I am not the only one. The EA have a duty of care and they have failed miserably - again. What is their excuse to those who have signed up but received nothing, and how many people actually received an alert by text or email from them last Thursday?

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • There really isn't any need to make nasty comments about other people's misfortune. But it is fair to say if you live at sea level next to a large tidal river you probably should pay close attention to weather forecasts.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • ....."“My dog was sitting on the sofa and my 17-year-old cat was swimming around.".....trust a dog to hog the sofa.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • what a nasty horrid, spiteful comment Daisy Roots, the poor woman has lost her home of 20 years, have you no heart? and as for " someone living somewhere inappropriate because it is fanciful or cheap..." who says a houseboat is inappropriate? should we all live in little square boxes with little square brains like you then?

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • Forgive me for being ignorant, but I thought the whole point about boats is that they float? I.E. they're supposed to stay on top of the water. Why was water flooding in - could it be that she didn't slacken off the mooring lines like any sensible boat owner would do when warned that the river levels would rise? As for "they had told everybody else about the tide but not me", I find that very hard to believe. It was on the TV and radio for days before, and the police were going to every property in high-risk areas to warn people. You might as well have said "I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang 'la la la'".

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, December 16, 2013

  • Whilst I have every sympathy with the lady - if she lived on the river, or sea, she should be aware of high tides and surges and even if she didnt have a TV she should have a 'wireless'.

    Report this comment

    Jim

    Monday, December 16, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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