It seems strange writing this post about the first flood that happened four weeks ago, when I’m actually in the thick of an even greater challenge. However, the posts were already written so it would make sense to carry on in a chronological order. Please be patient….we are nearly there!
Friday morning 10th January 2014 came not a second too soon, it is the darkness of night that makes everything so much more frightening when you are in danger of flooding. There was a weird calmness in the air, similar to when it snows heavily and all sound is muffled a little. However, I was way less than calm inside, the water had been rising overnight. There was now at least eighteen inches (450mm) in the back garden and the front garden was also underwater, almost as much. Fortunately our house is built up from the ground so we had a reasonable way to go before it would breech the front and back doors, oh and the seemingly endless number of patio doors you only realize you have when you have to carry over sixty sand bags to make them safe. Unfortunately the annex to the house isn’t as well designed and is not as high. By now the water was beginning to run through the gym and utility room. The office was a few inches higher again, so fingers were crossed, it was now out of bounds for fear of allowing more water in if we dislodged the sandbags.
Friday was a sunny day for a change, thank goodness the rain had stopped. For the first time since Tuesday I was beginning to feel a little more in control, let’s face it, I was now an expert in flood management. My somewhat futile attempt at self-appreciation was short lived when I checked on the fish. Clearly they weren’t well. Large Koi require a lot of oxygen and very clean water, one of them was lying on its side. So the first job today was to get some temporary ‘kit’ for them. Armed with a debit card already reeling from my specialist Wellington boots purchase, my son and I headed out to the local aquatic centre to buy some ‘kit’….whatever that was! The water was splashing over the top of our boots now at the front of the house but undeterred we persevered and made it to the aquatic centre.
We returned home via Burger King, I needed to feed the troops again, armed with the necessary equipment to keep the fish alive (apparently that’s what ‘kit’ means), provided we could get the two biggest ones into a larger holding vessel (one of them was lying on it’s side by this point and looking pretty desperate). Our only option was the bath downstairs.
It is strange how you react to a gradual flood, you check the water levels and judge how much time you potentially have to complete a task before moving onto the next one. Everything was done methodically and, with military precision, the fish were moved without hardly a drop of water being spilled as we carried them through the sitting room and hallway into the bathroom……. well, at least that’s what I told my wife!
We got the two biggest and arguably most suffering fish into the bath in our new ground floor bathroom and installed an aeration stone. We’d treated the tap water and hoped that things would improve, despite neither of them even being able to turn around, let alone stretch their fins. The other smaller fish were re-distributed between the two holding tanks and had an in-pond filter to support them. We waited and hoped that at least these water-loving creatures would survive the disgusting apology for water we were now surrounded by.
As the day progressed and we positioned more and more sand bags, the water seemed to slow down. For the first time since Tuesday, perhaps we could go to bed without fear of drowning. My end of day check revealed the water had only risen 1” (2.5cms) in the past eight hours or so, with perhaps about 5” (12.5cms) to go until the house was in serious danger, with a bit of luck we could get a good night’s sleep and even survive this!(To be continued……)
Disclaimer: The content in my blog is provided for entertainment purposes only and as such is in no way reflective of any recognized sailing regulations or guidance. Whilst all the stories are factually correct, the identities of the people concerned may have been changed to protect me from any liability. Please consult a sailing book, preferably endorsed by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), before going anywhere near the River Thames. All content is copyrighted to Bracken, in the hope it might eventually pay for his chemo!