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CATASTROPHE - the Aftermath.

77 comments


The original blog I started was getting so long, Dd suggested that I should start a new one.

I’m so grateful for your sympathy over this dreadful period of our lives. I do feel for anyone out there who has also been flooded – it is such a traumatic experience!

The view from the front gate when the water had receded enough to wade through it.

You hear about people being flooded, but the aftermath is almost as bad as the actual occurrence. I’ve been asked ‘How did you keep so calm?’ – and my reply was that the adrenalin kicks in, and you try to save as much of your precious belongings as you can.

Remember this?

There was a large rug on the sitting room floor, and somehow, we managed to get it out from under the furniture, fold it and drag it out and onto the staircase. We also put blocks under the sofa casters so the sofas were saved from the encroaching water, which came up through the floors as well as over the door sills and flood barriers.

I think you know that we had another flood three days later, but during the night! Needless to say, I was wide awake, waiting for it… After the water had subsided, we were able to request help from workers at the nearby Power Station – and it took six burly men to roll up the sodden dining room carpet, underlay and all, and take it outside.

We contacted our Insurance Company after the second flood, and they sent out a contractor who deals with disaster recovery. Andy turned out to be a wonderful support – he knew exactly what to do. First he sprayed the whole of the ground floor with an anti-bacteriological spray and then checked everywhere to assess the damage, making lists as he went round. He’s been in every few days since it all happened. There were forms to fill in, of course, and we had a visit from the Loss Adjuster too. I was glad I’d thought to take photos – they took copies of them. They asked us what we’d done at the time of the flooding, and what we’d managed to save. Obviously, someone who makes attempts at saving what they can is looked upon more favourably.

As you can see, every windowsill has piles of rescued ‘things’ lifted up from water level danger. Even the sills upstairs are covered in china, glassware, books, cushions, you name it.

Andy brought in a total of 11 large industrial fans and 3 dehumidifiers. My goodness – the noise downstairs for the last 6 weeks has been horrific – and it felt like a force 8 gale, too.

One thing that the Insurance Company agreed to was to take all the downstairs furniture into storage. We can’t find many of our belongings, because they’re all in boxes in a warehouse in Weston super Mare, and there they’ll stay until the renovations are complete.

The carpets had to go – they could have been harbouring all sorts of toxic substances washed downstream from farm fields. Such a shame – we loved our hall carpet, and it isn’t available any more, so we’ve had to choose a substitute. We made the decision to replace the dining room fitted carpet with polished boards and a rug. This is the one we chose! (It’s being kept at the suppliers until we’re ready for it.)

We’ve been kept very busy getting quotations from carpet suppliers, flooring firms, a local builder/decorator, electrical shops (my Kenwood Chef mixer was a casualty!) and buying wallpaper and paint. That’s because Andy gave us the very welcome news yesterday that the house has dried out enough for work to start.

It was blissfully quiet when most of the fans were turned off. Just one is left for a few more days – Andy was so thorough that in checking all the ‘damp points’ he’d drilled in the floors, he found one patch in a corner where it just needs a little more air on it.

This is the plug over one of several holes drilled into the floor, where Andy checks for dampness deep down.

One sad effect from the fans is that many of my house plants in the Garden Room have died – it’s been so cold and they didn’t appreciate the gale! I can’t claim for replacements, either.

So this is where we’re up to – this week, we hope to get officially declared ‘dried out’ – and then our workers can start on the renovations. We are looking into building some sort of flood defences, because who knows? It might be another 40 years before the next major ‘severe weather event’ or it might be this year…

So the view from the front door is back to normal for mid-January, and we have our fingers crossed that we don’t ever see this final view again.

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Comments

 

You have done so well, I am sure you will enjoy choosing new things and getting back to normal, then spring will come, hopefully.

12 Jan, 2013

 

Thank you B for that, makes me the first one to comment, I do admire the way you and P have coped under all that stress, not sure I would have stayed so calm......I love your new rug, such beautiful colours (my type of rug) Oh used to work for a company who made this kind of rug, and still do in Kidderminster, I believe.
We have had a dreadful night and day of torrential rain, so very depressing, but at least ours makes it's way to the sea!! although the garden is sodden to say the least.
Hope you manage to get sorted out soon, will you be able to open or is that a silly question?
Take care, xxxxx oh dear was pipped at the post lol.

12 Jan, 2013

 

I'm sure you will heave a great sigh of relief the day you are declared 'RENOVATED' and all the workmen clock off for the last time. I'm sure the adrenalin will be on full blast while you put the finishing touches in place. The garden seems to be relatively peaceful looking so lets hope the damage is not as bad as feared. I like the new dining room carpet. Well done you two and Henry for getting through this and still smiling.

12 Jan, 2013

 

from horrendous to hope! i think you have been incredibly brave and strong.

all the very best, its a bit of a tough start to the new year but glad to hear its now getting dryer and on the way to being sorted

buy yourself a few treats of new house plants ~ im sure you deserve them!

12 Jan, 2013

 

lets hope 2013 is everything 2012 wasnt. You have been through the mill abit.
love the new carpet for the dining room.
I bet you and oh and henry are able to breathe a bit easier now.
At least the power station stepped up to the needs of their community. That was excellent pr for them.
lovely to see the 'normal view' of your garden. :o)

12 Jan, 2013

 

What a terrible time for you. Lets hope it is 40 years as once is once too many.

12 Jan, 2013

 

Incredibly brave says it all. Your family must be very proud of you.

12 Jan, 2013

 

What a tough time. I hope things go smoothly with the renovations and it isn't toooo long before you can get back to normal.

12 Jan, 2013

 

Thanks Spritz,
what a dreadful time you are having, and help too from suprising sources
I like the carpet that you have chosen and polished wood sounds really nice
You're getting there slow but sure x

12 Jan, 2013

 

Just what can one say but you had what we call the British bulldog spirt !! Good luck hope the sun will shine on your home and garden very soon .

12 Jan, 2013

 

It seems that you have had your own Annus horribilis Spritz. Thankfully you have come through it fighting and gradually getting on top of everything. I hope you can get a flood defence built and that its never needed. I just can't imagine what it must have been like to cope with it all. It would be great to hear that your home is completely renovated before Easter and you were happy and comfortable in your lovely home.

12 Jan, 2013

 

You so deserve to have everything beautiful again soon. Its good to see the garden looking OK again - and the hellebores don't appear to have suffered (if this is a this year's photo) and the cyclamen cheer everything up.
Three cheers for Andy and his dehumidifiers - such a relief to have the turned off! The rug is beautiful.

12 Jan, 2013

 

Pleased to read that things are now beginning to improve and work can start on getting you back to normal, Love the new rug what a beautiful colour, Best wishes for a speedy resolution to your truly horrendous experience x

12 Jan, 2013

 

I can't begin to imagine how awful that must have been for you - and for anyone who suffered floods! So glad it's all being sorted now. Onwards and upwards as they say! :o)

13 Jan, 2013

 

Good phrase, Nariz - I've been saying that! Yes, it really was a tough year. I can't imagine how we'd have coped if this had happened earlier in 2012. I suppose we'd have been forced to move out - and I certainly couldn't have shifted things as I did. My GP asked if I'd lifted anything heavy - well, of course I did!!! Luckily, it didn't do me any harm.

I can't wait to get our 'new-look' home back! I do know how lucky we've been with our Ins. Co. I swap notes with other flood victims in the hamlet, and they haven't had the help and advice that we have.

Out of 51 homes in our hamlet, it seems that 8 were flooded. :-((

13 Jan, 2013

 

It does sound as if Andy has been incredibly helpful Spritz

Hope you don't get this forecast snow......

13 Jan, 2013

 

Wow, it's good to know that there is help and people who know what to do and have all the equipment to help. However, that initial trauma, before Andy came along, will have been terrible. I hope that you are keeping well after all the stress. It's a pity about the indoor plants, but as you have found with your new carpet etc, you will find even lovelier plants in time. I'm sorry they won't give you anything towards the cost of replacements though. You sound pretty positive all things considered. Thank you for the update. You have been in my thoughts a great deal. Here's hoping that there is no repeat performance from the weird weather! Xx

13 Jan, 2013

 

so sorry to see you have been flooded, missed your other blogs.... do hope you get up and running again very soon. x

13 Jan, 2013

 

Spritzhenry so sorry to hear about your flood , as I have been computerless for five month,s I am still playing catch up with the blog,s. Hope thing's are getting sorted for you and that you are all okay (has Henry settled yet ?) Thinking of you and take care x Mavis

13 Jan, 2013

 

Thanks, Holly and Mavis. Glad to see you back!

Henry isn't sure if he wants to be upstairs or down in his bed. As he has arthritis in his left leg, we try to keep him from trotting up and down, but it's difficult.

We should have made the effort to go and talk to our neighbours about flood defences this afternoon, but we both had a doze after lunch instead. :-( Ah well - the forecast isn't for rain...

13 Jan, 2013

 

You could set up a lost plant list Barbara and we can replace them for you.

14 Jan, 2013

 

How very kind you are! :-))

14 Jan, 2013

 

I love your new rug and your garden view. It must be such a relief to you to see that instead of filthy water from your door. How lovely your pots are looking too ...even in the flood water! It's amazing what you can get used to isn't it, but it will all be like a bad dream when all is restored at last. We'll all look forward to the restoration pics:-)

14 Jan, 2013

 

So sorry to hear about the flooding but thank goodness the insurance at least made your problems a little easier to bear.

14 Jan, 2013

 

so sorry Barbara about all this awfull flooding you have had, your beautifull home and garden, hope all gets back to normal and no more floods xx

14 Jan, 2013

 

What fortitude you and your OH have shown in such heartrending times, but its grand to hear that you have got through it all and can now make plans to repair all the damage. I like the idea of polished floor and a carpet for the dining room and your choice of carpet looks to be ideal for your beautiful cottage.
Lets hope that 2013 just keeps getting better and better for you.

14 Jan, 2013

 

I was thinking of you today Barbara....hope this awful snow has not visited you.

14 Jan, 2013

 

No, the SW has so far escaped. I hope it stays that way, although the local weather man on the BBC was hinting it might get here on Friday.

Ba - did I tell you that the pots tried to float away when the water was at its highest? That just shows how fierce the flow was. I'm really glad I waded out and rescued them!

I can't wait for the work to begin - but we just have to be patient as they have other jobs to complete before starting here. It won't be long though - maybe by next week I'll have a welcoming smile on my face - though workmen in the house will need gallons of tea...lol.

15 Jan, 2013

 

well worth baking buns/cakes too, they all appreciate the kindly gesture. I find our builder to be extra careful around the garden areas too.

Just take it steady and dont over tax yourself spritz. Lucky escape from the snow then. and extra 2cm taking us to 12cm and -4 this morning. an interesting drive to work today.

15 Jan, 2013

 

Poor you. :-(

I went off to the GC this morning in the sunshine (+7 degrees), via an electrical store. On their website, it said they had Kenwood Chefs - in stock - but oh no! This store said that's a 'general' site and the nearest stockist is up near Bristol! Grrrr.....

15 Jan, 2013

 

I,ve had one for nigh on 40 years Spritz so I just looked on Amazon £199 for the classic and £520!!! For the titanium.......good gracious!

15 Jan, 2013

 

I need to see the newer models, to make sure I'm buying the most comparable one...I don't want to upset the Insurance Company. It's the KM366 I think.

15 Jan, 2013

 

Spritz I can just see you wading out to rescue your pots, I think you're a super-hero:-))

16 Jan, 2013

 

I simply couldn't bear to watch them floating away!

16 Jan, 2013

 

The £199 isKM 336 800w, its called classic
Mines the old white and navy but this looks very similar in Amazon

16 Jan, 2013

 

I'm pleased to read your cottage is drying out at last Barbara. You've been through a dreadful time and I do hope it never happens again.
I like your rug :o) It's very nice.
I'm sorry to hear about your house plants. Such a shame, and I hope you'll be able to replace them.

16 Jan, 2013

 

Thanks, Pam. I still think I'd rather see the 'real thing' before I buy it. One of the newer models comes with a liquidiser. I've asked J. Lewis to send me an e-mail when they get new stocks in.

Hywel - I simply couldn't handle it if we got flooded again. It's taken 8 weeks to dry out, and now we face several weeks of renovation. I want my home back!

I've got a friend standing by to send me some Streptocarpus leaves, so I'll be able to propagate them. Not until the Garden Room is back to normal, though - it's too cold down there.

16 Jan, 2013

 

I hope all is slowly returning to some sort of normality for you both, regarding mixers, I swear by my Magimix only had two in 49 years of marriage, this one is now due to be updated, at lease the motor is guaranteed for 12 years! but because of the popularity of cooking progs food aids have become very expensive......

22 Jan, 2013

 

The bbc new last night showed a huge amount of snow on the mendips.........did it affect you?, it looked awful

23 Jan, 2013

 

just coming on to moan on this blog too 'cos it's snowing again here and no sign of a thaw:-( Barbara, I think you're wise using John Lewis, I love them, brilliant customer service and unlike Amazon they pay tax here. I'm not using Amazon any more, not even for books:-)

23 Jan, 2013

 

We,re thawing slowly but having snow flurries too.....

23 Jan, 2013

 

Yes, we've had blizzards here. On the BBC News you might have seen cars stuck on the A39 and people having to sleep in Nether Stowey village hall, well, that's just up the lane from here. Our electricity went off early this morning and we were pretty cut off from the world until lunch time.

It's been snowing most of the day today, but the forecast is a bit better.

23 Jan, 2013

 

I did Spritz,it looked awful

We haven't had it as bad as some, although I have to put snowboots on to venture far down the garden the roads have cleared well

24 Jan, 2013

 

No more of it over night, so it should start vanishing tomorrow, when the temps are due to rise - but we're in for more rain - so I'll be having kittens again! :-O

24 Jan, 2013

 

I heard its to rain too, a slow melt would be better for all of us I think....and hope xxx

24 Jan, 2013

 

I heard you're supposed to build snowmen to prevent flooding as the snowmen thaw slowly enough to allow the water to drain away safely:-)

24 Jan, 2013

 

Spritz, I've just received Cotswold Garden Flowers catalogue, lovely surprise, don't remember ordering one. I've started laughing already and I'm only on the A's . Here's his heading for .... AEONIUM (Crassulaceae) A vowel rich genus ....I love this catalogue!:-)

24 Jan, 2013

 

Yes, I got mine today too - he really knows his plants! I've odered some from there before, and will again. I agree - it's great to read because he makes it so amusing...

24 Jan, 2013

 

I've used them before too and picked up my order from a rare plant fair at the lovely Consall Hall last year. Unfortunately, all I ordered was not available, but did manage to buy quite a few plants. I thought Bob is mad as a bag of frogs (worse than me) but very knowledgeable :-)

24 Jan, 2013

 

Seaburn is lucky - she was at a talk he gave to their HPS meeting a while ago. Obviously, he brought some plants for sale, and I don't suppose he took any back with him, do you?

I've just looked at the 'Rare Plant Fair' website, and like last year, they're only having one in Somerset. At least I should be able to get to the one in March this time! I'd only just come out of hospital last March. Isn't that amazing - where did the months go?

25 Jan, 2013

 

Yes Barbara, time goes quickly when you're enjoying yourself lol. Couldn't resist that one. 2013 will be a fantastic year for you, if only be comparison! If I remember rightly, Sheilabub has also been to one of his talks. I was taken to Consall Hall by my lovely son-in-law. It's a fantastic place and they've promised to take me back to the rare plant fair this year too as they all enjoyed the visit. I don't know if you saw my Consall Hall blog, but there is a link on it which, if you click on it, will take you to Consall Hall website and you will find out all about it, how it came into being etc. The man who designed it is still living although very old and he's marvellous. It really is worth having a look at if you've got the time:-)

25 Jan, 2013

 

OK, I will. :-))

25 Jan, 2013

amy
Amy
 

Oh Barbara , I'm so so sorry you have had to go through such an awful ordeal ,what a dreadful year you have had ! It's going o be a mammoth job to get your garden back to it's beautiful self , I can't even begin to understand how you must have felt , I use to wish we had a river nearer to our home ,I'm glad we haven't now , good luck with all the cleaning up ops. and hope that you will have your home back as you would wish it to be before to long xx

7 Feb, 2013

 

I could not believe that no money is being spent in Somerset in the latest round of flood defence plans. You must be disappointed. I do hope someone can change the minds of those who take the decisions. Do you think it is because this has not been a problem in the past and it is being treated as a freak occurance? I felt so sorry for the farmers who are despairing of ever being able to farm their land again.

7 Feb, 2013

 

I saw that too - I was furious, not just disappointed. 'The Levels' flood every year, but not usually as badly. The road through Cheddar Gorge is still awash and badly damaged, and the tourist season will start at Easter. Funds are really needed down here!

Amy, yes, it really has been a dreadful year. I just hope I can make the garden look good in time for the open days! We're at a standstill where the house is concerned, as our decorator had a long-standing booking for this week. He'll be back next Monday and I hope it won't be too long after that - possibly up to another month - before we can move back downstairs.

8 Feb, 2013

amy
Amy
 

I'm sure people will understand if it's not up to your usual high standard Barbara especially if you display these photos they will think you've worked miracles on it , how are you managing for cooking upstairs ? ...

8 Feb, 2013

 

Luckily we're able to use the kitchen; it just needs repainting where the water 'wicked' up the plaster and bubbled off - the floor tiles that had to be replaced are all down. I think the painting be the last thing to be done, as we need the rest of the house finished first - we want our furniture back out of storage!

That's a good idea about photos - I could get them printed off and display them somewhere! :-0

8 Feb, 2013

 

It can't come quickly enough for me, Bilbo!

8 Feb, 2013

 

oh dear Spritz..you have my sympathy and admiration for dealing with it all...hope you get your home back to normal soon..x

9 Feb, 2013

 

Our decorator is due back today - we didn't get a message that he wasn't coming, so fingers crossed that he arrives. He'll paper the dining room next - I can't wait!

9 Feb, 2013

 

I'm really pleased to see you have reached the decorating stage Spritz and also that you can use the kitchen, it must have made so much difference when it became usable, lets face it turning the oven on and having the smell from a cake or something must have been a real treat for you after weeks of what you and hubby have had to suffer from the aftermath of the floods..
You have had a really hard time and I applaud you for your strength and am willing the time to come when you have your home back....

10 Feb, 2013

 

Thanks - Richard was here until a few minutes ago. He has almost finished papering the dining room. He can't be here next week, but we are planning to get the two rugs laid, and then cover them with sheets when he comes back. Then he can paint the walls. That's another step forwards! We'll also try to get the furniture back on a specific day in about 2 -3 weeks' time. After that, it's just the new carpets to lay. They said they needed two days to do it, because our hall and stairs are not easy in such an old house - we have 'wiggly walls'. :-D)

10 Feb, 2013

 

lol I love the expression 'wiggly walls'. We have a stair which goes round in a U shaped bend and I wanted a patterned carpet. All the shops said it could not be done. In the end we went to one of those carpet hypermarket places. We chose a carpet and the owner brought the fitter to make sure he could fit it. No problem said the young man. We were not going to be paying for it until it was installed to our satisfaction so we agreed on a fitting day. We wanted to let the wood either side of the carpet be seen on the stairs so that entailed having the edges bound before delivery. The hall downstairs and the landing upstairs were being fitted. The great day arrived and an awful lot of carpet. It was fitted perfectly and the young man stood back and said "Thats great. Its the first time I have tried that". We fell about laughing and explained that so many of the 'quality' shops would not entertain us. I took some photographs so he could put them in his CV. You'll be glad to see the back of all these obliging chaps. I'm glad its all working out for you.

10 Feb, 2013

 

Love your story! :-))

We had to get two quotations for the Ins. Co. and I was really hoping that the other firm wouldn't put in a lower quote - they didn't seem to understand about the pattern - you'll understand. We couldn't have a pattern with any straight lines or chevrons or 'regular' shapes as the 'wiggly walls' would make anything like that look really wrong. It was OK, though - the bigger shop gets Axminster so often they get a discount. :-0) Their quote was a lot lower.

11 Feb, 2013

 

Sometimes things work out better than we thought they would and I am very pleased this is going your way for a change.

12 Feb, 2013

 

It was a great relief. I wouldn't have trusted the other firm to lay the carpet properly! They didn't measure up nearly as carefully, which worried me.

13 Feb, 2013

 

You know we expect pics of everything when it's all done Barbara. Has the damp smell gone yet?:-)

13 Feb, 2013

 

I don't think I would be happy about showing photos of the inside of my home B'again. I try not to show too much of the outside either. I don't know what others feel but to me it would constitute a security risk.

13 Feb, 2013

 

Sorry, Ba. I have to agree with Scotsgran. Pity, but realistic.

Yes, the damp smell went a while ago, thank goodness. :-)

14 Feb, 2013

 

Spritz, I really regret that I've not been in touch to say how very sorry I am at the nightmare floods you have had to contend with and do really hope that all is going well now. Its a miracle how much has been done in a short time and what an absolute blessing to have someone like Andy to help sort it.
A friend of mine is suffering subsidence problems under the whole house and the insurance company virtually useless until she resorted to legal action to get them to move and its been ongoing for well over a year.
I'm also sorry to hear of Henry's arthritis in his leg. I read a letter in the newspaper some years back that a woman found a few chopped feverfew leaves in her dog's food was very beneficial. Apparently its anti-inflamatory.
Let's hope we shall soon get some warmer weather that lasts more than a few days!
Linmar

23 Feb, 2013

 

Thank you for getting in touch, Linmar. It's all been a nightmare, but we hope that 2 more weeks will see us back with a 'home' again.

We now have a dining room which is ready for its furniture, and our decorator will be here next week painting the hall and staircase ready for the carpets to be laid - so things have progressed! :-D)

23 Feb, 2013

 

Thats good to know Spritz, soon be spring too ,with a bit of luck and a lot of hope warmer........

23 Feb, 2013

 

Not today - it's trying to snow! :-O

Luckily, even if it does, Richard can walk here from his house.

24 Feb, 2013

 

If I showed pics of the inside of our house I think it would put intruders off rather than attract them!

25 Feb, 2013

 

LOL. If they came in at the moment, they wouldn't find anything downstairs - nothing except a rug. It would be difficult to walk off with that - it's 12' x 10'! I think someone might notice...

25 Feb, 2013

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