Postdiluvian update • 22 July 2007 • The SnowBlog
Well, anyone who's been fretting for my safety and wellbeing will be glad to know that life in The Countryside isn't going too badly, all things considered. It's true I had standing water in two of my bedrooms (they're on the ground floor) and my hallway, but somehow it doesn't seem to have been the foul sewer water that the poor unfortunates on the TV news have to contend with. No, Cotswold Spring Water invaded my new home and seems to have done very little damage at all. Granted the smell of damp is getting stronger, but if the insurance people happen to send someone with bunged-up sinuses, I'm going to struggle to prove that there ever was flooding here. How I could have had a flooded ground floor when I'm so near the top of a big hill is a mystery my lovely neighbours have helped me unravel. The converted barn I'm living in was part of a working farm twenty-five years ago and, naturally, it had a farmyard. When turning farmyard into garden, corners were very likely cut and somewhere under my lawn is probably impermeable stone where there should be porous earth. That, plus the fact that the lowest point of my garden is just outside my front door are the culprits. In normal, non-climate-change weather, the gaps between paving stones are enough to drain away rain water. But in the once-in-a-century weather that the BBC pointed out is happening most years now, the dip outside my door filled with ten inches of water and came in through the walls.
One of the reasons I'm not too stressed about it is due to the support of my new neighbours. Knowing that I don't have a fridge yet, and would be unable to get to the shops with all the nearby roads impassable, the retired couple to one side of me brought round a cool box, complete with a couple of freezer blocks, which contained milk, butter and fresh, locally-laid eggs. I already had bread, so once I'd dried myself out from wading around in the deluge setting up hose pipes to siphon the water into the drains, I was able to have scrambled eggs on toast and a nice hot cup of tea. For those who take an interest in that sort of thing, yesterday I scrambled the Burford Browns for my tea; today it was Cotswold Legbars. Very nice too.
The neighbours on the other side have offered me the use of their washing machine and have hooked me up to their broadband connection (while I wait for BT to arrange the laying of some cables). That in particular has helped restore normality because going without e-mail, internet-sourced news and the ability to read my favourite blogs was slightly more distressing than watching water lap across my hall.
Anyway, it's only Day Five of living in the countryside, but so far I'd have to say it makes London look like an ugly, hostile and unhealthy place. Which I suppose it probably is.