Wow doesn’t time fly past without you realising. As you will have probably surmised by my very long absence life has just been crazy around here and I have not had any free time whatsoever to even post a short update. For anyone following my blog (and thank you to those who have sent messages) I know you will have been wondering…’what have I been doing all this time?’
I think back in June around about the time of my last post we had a few weeks visiting relations and finishing the decorating of the nursery for daughter No. 2. Then we were preparing for our summer holiday in the first two weeks of July at the our beach cottage and looking forward to 2 long weeks gardening, renovating, relaxing and pottering.
Well that’s what we thought… but…during the week before our holiday our builder told us he would be free to start our bathroom refit at our home whilst we were on holiday if we could get all the items chosen and either bought or on order. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to get it done we had to finalise all our ideas and rush around measuring and choosing a bathroom suite, tiles, flooring, shower, paint, lights and taps.
This is the old bathroom – anyone with a nervous disposition look away now!! As you can see it is a tiny tiny bathroom with a retro Pampas green suite of the 1980’s and hideous tiles – I am almost too embarrassed to put this picture on my blog for the world to see (especially with the cleaning cloths in full view)!
In the end we delayed the start of our holiday in Scotland until the Monday – in our favour it meant we could take advantage of the Homebase deals on tiles and paint over the weekend and get the bathroom suite itself on order from our local merchant.
With everything done and the keys for our house handed over to the builder we set off for Scotland on the Monday feeling disappointed we had lost a few days off our main holiday but pleased we could look forward to a new bathroom on our return.
At the cottage my better half completed the guttering along the old flat roof of the kitchen and bathroom extension and sorted out the guttering along the old conservatory,
Meanwhile I set to with the weeding along the border by the new trellis on the seaside garden. This is where we had a twelve-foot high Escallonia hedge sheltering us from the sea winds but it was damaged by the unusually severe frost one winter a few years ago and had to be removed. We have now planted a mixed hedge in the hope that some of the plants will survive should it happen again.
Then disaster struck – hubby hurt his back so the second week he could do very little and the only Osteopath in Stranraer (the one I used at Easter for my back) was away in the Caribbean! Lucky him…
Eventually hubby’s back eased enough to drive home at the end of the fortnight but we had accomplished very little. But never mind we thought the bathroom will be well underway and we had the imminent birth of our grand child to think about now – due on my birthday on the 19th July only a week away.
So did we find the bathroom all sparkling new and finished?…. well no not really… the taps we had placed on order never arrived and then we were told they had been discontinued so work on the bathroom had to be put on hold once it had been stripped out and only partly tiled. The new taps we chose were out of stock until the end of August so our builder had to down tools and move on to another job…as I write he is still on with the other job but hopefully due back on Monday.
Disappointing but never mind we could wait – after all I was going to be busy preparing for the Garden Party to celebrate my 60th birthday and only a week away now. All the invitations had gone out before our holidays and I had a list of the food I had to buy and and all the jobs I would need to do before the weekend.
Of course what I hadn’t bargained for was the amount of dust generated from the bathroom being stripped out – plaster dust had got everywhere in the house despite all attempts to prevent it – so early on Saturday morning the day of the party I had to set to with the help of my trusty Dyson and hoover all the dust from every room and from every surface and hope no-one coming would look above eye level! I was like a whirling Dervish for 3 solid hours whilst hubby set out the garden with chairs, balloons and bunting … in the rain. If you can remember as far back as July around the 19th you will remember it was beautiful and sunny all week before and after the Saturday but on the Saturday we woke up to rain – none stop rain. Our hopes of a ‘Garden Party’ were dashed.
The party began at 3pm and went on until after midnight and guests were invited to pop in and stay as long as they wanted. It worked very well as our house is not big and we had a continuous stream of friends and family coming and going throughout the day helping to celebrate my milestone with me and luckily it was so packed they didn’t notice any stray dust.
So Sunday was a day of rest and baby did not make any sudden appearance even though we waited all through the next week. By the following weekend we had still no news on the baby front so we decided to carry on and attend my mum in laws care home Garden Party on the Sunday. The weather was glorious and despite the long drive we had a good day even though I am sure she doesn’t know us from Adam now!
The next day – Monday – my daughter started in labour but it was to be 5 gruelling days before baby was born on the Friday 1st August (Yorkshire Day) with a lot of pain and trauma for poor old mum and a lot of stress for me on the other end of the phone trying to ‘calmly’ offer advice and support. I think in hindsight given that baby was presenting with her spine side ways on and not engaging fully in the birth canal they may have done a caesarean to prevent the difficulties that arose, however daughter survived the ordeal and so did baby and we held our beautiful granddaughter in our arms the next day – she was certainly worth waiting for but I would not like to go through the stress of that again. And here is beautiful L….
So could we relax then now all events were over…well no because on the following Sunday at 3pm as the hurricane Big Bertha passed over Scotland we had a call to say our cottage and garden were totally flooded up to window sill height and the firemen were outside not able to do anything. We were in Sainsbury’s at the time and had to dash home pack a few items and jump in the car and set off for Scotland to inspect the damage.
We saw the cottage on the Monday morning and it was not a pretty sight – 10 years almost to the day since we bought it and ten years of hard work all lost in 2 hours. Every room inside had been hit and a brown sticky mud covered the floor. Every plant in the garden lay on its side with the roots exposed as the water took a layer of topsoil with it. The little bridge you may have seen in my old header had been wiped out and the 1-2 meter wide stream was now a cavern of about 6-7 metres at the lower end.
Friends, neighbours and caravaners nearby showed us many photos and videos of the flood as it happened and we made headline news in the local paper! It appears that the water flowed down the fields from behind us after a road and some banking gave way about a mile away – this rolled down the hillside with some force like a river over the main road and into the farmer’s field beside us – then gathering momentum shot over the top of our stream and into our woodside garden headed for the cottage surrounding it and flowing into the seaside garden where it eventually ended up in the stream and on into the sea taking the bridge and stream bank and anything else in its’ way with it.
The water flowing across the fields like a river.
This is the point it enters our woodland garden at the back of the house.
My woodland walk completely engulfed.
On the seaside of the house by the new trellis and gates the Firemen powerless to do anything other than watch and wait.
The seaside garden was just submerged under water.
This is the little bridge that we use to get to the sea-shore.
The water just swept it aside.
But at least the water had some way of escape had it not our cottage might have stood in a few feet of water for a long time, but as it was when we arrived the next day there was not even a puddle of evidence remaining.
This is our new view with a slightly wider stream and no bridge!!
We stayed up in Scotland in a hotel for 3 days until the loss adjuster could come out to us. Everything in the house will have to be stripped out and put into a skip, kitchen units and bathroom suite included. All floor tiles will also be removed and wardrobes and our lovely wooden pannelling. The only items we could rescue were a few clothes from the higher shelves in the wardrobes not affected and similarly the bedding, linens and dishes.
We have had two further trips to Scotland since to meet with the drying out man and the building surveyor and at the moment it all feels a daunting, on the good side we will get the cottage renovated quicker once the refit gets underway.
So that is my excuse for the long absence and lack of posts – I have been a little bit busy!!!