And flooding is exciting. In the moment. It's visceral and scary and life-bursting. It's like one great log-flume of a fairground ride.
But in the aftermath, when the cameras have long gone, and you're living in a crappy hotel having lost everything you own, wandering around in a fug, filling in forms, crying on the phone to Call Centre staff, wondering what on earth you've done to deserve such a thing, that's where the real drama lies. Our deepest sympathy goes to anyone currently suffering an unexpected deluge.
This excerpt from The Northern Line to Shropshire, describes the night it happened to us , a full 7 weeks after we'd moved to Shifnal from Tooting, and which remains an anchor in our lives 7 years on...
Down in the Flood
A week ago we flooded. Tuesday. Not long after midnight. We were lying in bed when I woke to the sound of running water. I thought: “Oh, bloody hell, Anne's plumbed the dishwasher in wrong.” The lights weren't working and I stumbled nakedly downstairs to see what was happening, and stepped straight into water at the bottom of the stairs. I was still assuming the dishwasher was broken, until I opened the back door and a plant pot floated into the kitchen on a tide of water.
I woke Anne up. She had earplugs in and I rather think she might have otherwise slept straight through. I dressed and spent ages failing to find some shoes, by which time the water was coming in through the front door as well, and we were up to our knees. Anne phoned the police to see what was happening and was told we were flooding. They said sandbags would be useful. I was trying to save the TV when I tripped over the flooring which had lifted up and, as I slipped beneath the waves, I heard her say: “What do you mean, it's much worse in Bridgnorth?”
We finally evacuated the house when the water reached our waists. We've lost nearly all our possessions. We've been told the house will be uninhabitable for at least six months, so we are now effectively homeless. We are stuck in a hotel and are looking for a new place to rent. We're stumbling around like zombies, barely aware of what's happening to us. Life goes on but there's an other-worldly feel to it, like extreme jet-lag. I'm feeling completely unhinged. Anne appears to be heartbroken. We've only been here a couple of months and our lives seem to have fallen apart.