The house we live in has water courses on three sides. The water is usually pretty low and nothing to worry about. I took this photo just now, you can see the bridge across to our neighbour from the road and his pebble-covered decking.
Saturday before Christmas though it had rained all day, and we'd been anxiously watching the water level creep up. We weren't worried too much because we know the Environment Agency actively monitor and maintain all the water courses.
The water reached the beam below the bridge, crept up the bank, reached the base plank of the decking and then crept towards the white line on the decking...
I saw the Environment Agency chap in the lane and chased after him for an update, it was 3 pm by then. He said that by high tide at 6.30pm there was a "strong probability" that our house would be flooded.
I took a final photo before it got dark...
You'll notice I'm further back! The position I took the other photo from was underwater...
The rain continued to fall. We went out regularly with a torch, the water crept relentlessly forward and we started carrying as much as we could manage upstairs. Our 70s vinyls, the photo albums, bedding, Christmas presents from under the tree, the contents of the Christmas cocktail cabinet (priorities!!) and the computer. We phoned the family, told them they might not be able to come for Christmas after all.
I met an elderly neighbour whilst tracking down the environment agency chap. She's been flooded twice before and lost everything. An additional problem with the area is that there is no mains drainage because we're too low-lying. Consequently, floodwater includes the contents of everyone's cesspits which means houses are contaminated, not just wet.
Happily the rain stopped, the various pumps set up by the Environment Agency started to take effect and we did NOT flood. Our cesspit filled with rainwater (yes, landlady dear, it DOES leak) and needed an emergency empty on Sunday...and AGAIN on Thursday. It should take around 6 weeks to fill, not four days! Christmas was saved - but each time it rains now, we worry. Well, wouldn't you?
I know we got off lightly, many others in the UK really did get flooded and I feel their pain, it's not something I want to go through again.
Today the letting agencies are once more open after the holidays and we are house-hunting with a vengeance. I've just looked at the clock - 5 minutes till they open and we start phoning!