Rain has been sweeping though us for the last few days. Yesterday it fell like a constant, dripping shower. No wind, just straight-down, time-to-get-clean rain.
We always hold our breaths in this no-wind rain. Over the last ten years, this is the rain that’s caused us trouble. It’s been so torrential, it’s twice flooded the bungalow. In 2007, our local Welsh Water sub-station gave up the ghost and everything came up through the drains. I don’t know whether I’m proud or embarrassed to reveal we never changed our floor after we flooded. We still have the same laminate floor – though it looks like a kiddie’s rollercoaster in places. The water was clean rain water so we brought in a dehumidifier and dried out the bungalow. I’d just had Delphine. It gave me a good excuse to lie in bed all day, emptying the dehumidifier when it beeped full. Which it did, a lot.
Until recently the main drain from the street hasn’t been able to cope with these large volumes of rainwater. It over-spills onto the side of our house where the water sits like a paddling pool for days against our living room wall. How did the Council deal with this? They put up a sign saying ‘Road Liable To Flooding’. Nice to know they cared. Eventually, after Jack did his very best stalking impression on them for a number of years, they finally improved the drainage. Which was their legal responsibility in the first place. Sorry for the passive-aggressive tone – they just seemed to temporarily forget that bit while we were rolling up carpets and moving clothes.
Has it solved things now? Well, our drains haven’t backed up yet. Has it solved the problem of the torrential, falling rain outside? It should be noted that we live in Wales. Rain is happy here. The question of rain plus climate change is yet to be answered – and it probably will be – by time.
It’s a shame really, because under normal circumstances, I like a bit of rain. Rain clears thoughts, re-sets our spirits, makes us thoughtful. Except when you’re hauling sand bags I’ve discovered. Then you’re just pissed off and all high noon with the weather. ‘Come and get me!’ You rail at the sky. ‘Ok, no worries,’ the sky responds.
For now we’ve come to an uneasy truce. Everything is holding but, when it rains heavy and slow like it did yesterday, we still twitch. We look out the window for signs of failing drainage – our pin-point spots. If one area of the yard starts to fill up for example, combined with the recess next to the kitchen, it’s time to don waterproofs and go to battle.
Except at night time. At night, I listen to the patio roof take a hammering and the gutters sound like they’re high-octane water flumes. I turn over in bed. I might dream about the house flooding but darkness is fair game for the rain. I could wake up and feel the water swallow my feet and it would be time to call our insurers and move out forever. I’m not flooding again and staying here. Nope, no way. The weather would have won this time. Our fate is in its clouds.