Thursday 27 February 2020

The great flood

Its quite a while since I posted, put it down to February ennui not that things haven't happened.
The weather has been brutal.  After the first weekend of flooding we had the army in town putting up barricades along the river in advance of the next storm,  we hit hit the national news.  That weekend we had no flooding.  Last weekend there was more flooding but not quite so severe.  In between we had a few inches of snow that closed roads and caused the usual chaos, these last few days we've had brilliant sunshine, cold winds and a bit more snow.  I'm getting out and blasting my eyes with sunlight.
Meantime we had a water leak in our building, in the roof space above the fire escape.  It wasn't major but for some reason it wasn't attended to for 10 days and walls and floors were getting damp.  The joys of paying a property manager to ignore your problems.  
Finally the plumbers arrived to fix things, the water was turned off for a few hours and they left around 4 pm.  Mr FF and I had just sat down to dinner at 7.30 when there was an almighty rumbling, we thought maybe a very low flying plane.  Then our boiler started vibrating in an alarming way, Mr FF switched off the power and then the water but still it rumbled.  It was quite frightening as we thought the whole thing might explode.   We eventually went outside, into the escape stairwell and found water pouring from the recently repaired mains in the ceiling.  By this time the water had percolated down to the flat on the ground floor (through two others) and the owner was out in the atrium asking for help.  
We alerted our in house management board members, two were resident at the time, and the emergency plumber was phoned.  He was a good half hours drive away, meantime the basement was under 2 inches of water.  Mr FF took control, you can always rely on an engineer, and eventually managed to turn off the the incoming supply.  He had a lot of difficulty as the wheel is large and stiff from calcification, there had been a problem not long ago when the water board had to be called in to turn off the supply as the plumbers couldn't do so.  Why this wasn't freed up at the time is beyond me, it still isn't corrected.
All this happened two weeks ago, apart from our lovely cleaners coming in and hoovering up water with a special machine there has been no progress.  The floor in the escape lobby has started to swell with damp, goodness knows what is happening in the damaged apartments that are unoccupied.  We are told the owners are aware of the situation.  
We were all without water for two days until a further repair could be made, we did try to question the plumbers about what had gone wrong but they were very evasive, muttering about the pipe possibly being from a bad batch and refusing to let us see what pipe they had used for the repair.  We have a suspicion that it wasn't of the correct grade as it split completely a few hours after installation.
All this is nothing compared to all the poor people who are flooded but its still very annoying and was probably avoidable.  No one from our property management company was here to oversee the repairs or investigate the burst.  There will now be lengthy discussions and negotiations with the plumbers and our insurers.  I hope we might learn from this, get the stop wheel fixed so it works easier, find an emergency plumber who isn't 20 miles away,  but I doubt it.    
Maybe its just a coincidence but the two board members who were involved on the night of the great flood have both put their apartments on the market.   At least Mr FF has checked that no water main runs over our apartment and we always turn off our water when we are away so one less thing to worry about.
When not concerned with the effects of the water leak our thoughts should be turning to Italy but we can only wonder about the Coronavirus and when and if we will be able to travel. 

Sunday 9 February 2020

Stormy Sunday

I woke this morning expecting the much forecast Storm Ciara to be battering the windows and rattling the roof tiles, fortunately it was fairly quiet so I briefly imagined that it wasn’t going to be too bad.  Wrong, apparently it has been the worst storm for almost a decade.
The overnight rain must have been torrential, it was shocking to look down onto our town and see how much the River Wharfe had risen bursting out beyond the rugby club.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lido under water.  In many parts of our region homes and businesses are flooded again.
Mr FF and I risked a short walk out this afternoon for the newspaper, for a while the rain stopped and there was blue sky.   Water was pouring off the moors, drains were unable to cope and streets had turned to rivers, in fact roads in and out of town are closed, there are no trains or buses and shops closed early.
Now it’s dark, the rain is pouring down again and the wind has started gusting, the effect exaggerated for us up on the third floor.  The storm is due to continue through the evening, keep safe.