One Lancaster businessman is keeping his spirits high as work continues to get his shop back on its feet following the December floods.
Andrew Ireland, who runs Lamberts binocular & telescope specialists in Rosemary Lane, is operating with a limited selection of stock from his devastated premises until he can fully re-open after Easter.
The shop was left under 2ft of water when the flooding caused by Storm Desmond struck on December 5.
Andrew lost around £2,000 worth of stock – mainly microscopes and telescopes but also some smaller equipment.
“It could have been worse, it could have been £30,000,” he said.
“When I realised things were getting really bad I got my van and moved some of the more expensive stock into it.
“But I didn’t think the water would come up as far as it did.”
Andrew had witnessed conditions worsen throughout the day, until he was eventually trapped in Lancaster struggling to get back to his home in Staveley.
He said: “On my way in to work that Saturday morning I saw trees coming down the river so I had a feeling things were going to get bad.
“As the day went on the cars around the corner from the shop had water up to their windows.
“At one point I was sitting in the centre of the shop with my feet dangling in the water. I was fighting a losing battle.
“In the 28 years I have had the shop I have never seen anything like it.
“The drains just couldn’t cope with it.
“I was at the shop until late because I live in Staveley and couldn’t get back.
“But in the end I decided to try and get home – it took me two and a half hours.”
Luckily, the house Andrew shares with his wife Helen wasn’t damaged as so many in Cumbria were.
However, some of Helen’s Christmas presents which Andrew had been storing in the shop did not fare as well.
“We came down on the Sunday to have a look at the damage,” Andrew said. “It was a complete mess.
“Luckily I had moved the more expensive equipment.
“My insurers said to shut but I am still open. I bring some stock in each day and take it home again.”
The shop is currently open 10am until 3pm Monday to Saturday (except Wednesdays).
And Andrew anticipates it could be another couple of months before he can re-open properly.
“The shop needs to be rewired and replastered before it can be refitted,” he said.
Fortunately, Lamberts has stalls at nearly 40 outdoor shows across the country each year, which will help keep the business going while the shop is being refurbished.
“December is usually my busiest month but the flooding just about killed it,” Andrew said.
“Lancaster is definitely quieter at the moment, there’s no doubt about that.
“But I have kept reasonably upbeat. It’s demoralising, but I am better off than some people are.
“We have been through things before and survived. Things can only get better.”