‘Beast from the East’ was a challenge for us all

Newcastle racecourse.
Newcastle racecourse.

What a week we’ve had at Alnorthumbria. We’re pretty good at handling beasts normally, but the ‘Beast from the East’ caused us some problems.

Like everyone, it’s been a challenge to get anywhere, which is difficult if your job is to get to animals in need of attention or who need to come to us.

Getting ourselves to the surgeries was the first mission on Wednesday and the plan was to get to the nearest one, but even that was impossible for some. Getting to work, but not being able to get home again, became the reality for a few. Some who expected to finish their on-call shift found themselves having to carry on as their relief couldn’t get to work.

We managed to get a skeleton team to the surgeries, which were quiet for a few days as clients were struggling to get to us. Some emergency dashes were undertaken by vets with four-wheel drive vehicles. Vets found themselves answering phones, making tea and doing lunch runs.

By Friday and Saturday operations were getting back to normal and the phones started to go mad.

The strangest experience I’ve had this week was at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday, where everything was white except the all-weather track, so well done to the ground staff for managing to get it on after the disappointment of having to cancel two meetings earlier in the week.

What has been impressive is the efforts people go to to help someone stranded. Thanks to Dennis Young, East Coldside, for getting out of the bath to tow me out of a drift on Thursday evening. Thanks to all the farmers for their efforts to clear the roads, and to our clients for understanding when we struggled to make it.

The biggest thank you goes to all the team at Alnorthumbria, who have worked tirelessly over the week to get to work and to get the work done. It has been a great team effort.