Jo | 19/08/2018
A Seawife’s life – Water water everywhere!
After a very wet winter and spring we were waiting patiently for the summer to arrive. My sailor was home for June and July and he spent every day of his leave building and getting the pool ready for us to use in the summer holidays. It obviously sounds wonderful that we have a swimming pool in our garden but boy did it take some work to get it ready.
As it was installed in February it has been sat with stagnant water in it (over half full) in order for it to settle correctly into the ground. The first job was to empty it which we thought would of course be very easy. It was to start with, until we realised that in the type of pool we have the drain system is not on the bottom of the pool meaning we had at least 20cm of water in the bottom that we couldn’t get rid of. The only option was to bale it out by hand. We got the boys involved (bribing them with pocket money, of course.) We got 3 large builders buckets on the side and i cautiously entered armed with a variety of tupperware boxes and other containers ready to start bailing. It was pretty disgusting in there as the floor was slippery and green. We created a chain all with different jobs and 6 hours later, with pretty burnt backs it was empty. Job done, or so we thought!
The next stage was something we had not anticipated on either. The rancid water that had been in the pool had left limescale marks. We scrubbed, brushed, and cleaned for hours the next day. Nothing worked. We were advised to avoid using washing up liquid at all costs unless we intended on turning the pool into a bubble bath. The only option was to use chloric acid. If you have ever been anywhere near the stuff you will know just how toxic this stuff is. My sailor took on this job whilst I kept the kids away. He was armed with a plastic spray container, a cloth and a mask. I could smell the fumes just standing by the pool, let alone being in it. He kept being warned to do a small amount of time and then get out of the pool but being “the man” that he is he carried on. 9am to 2pm when he finally emerged from the sparkling clean pool he looked completely stoned. His eyes were glazed and he was “out of it.” Very bad for him and he slept for about 2 hours after he had finished – but at least the pool looked amazing and we could finally start filling it.
I wish that the only incident with water had been the swimming pool as this was resolved reasonably quickly. Having had months of rain and an expert roof man to assess the house when we bought it we had rather naively assumed it was watertight – it must be, right? No!
We were in the kitchen when a storm started. The living room, which is next to the kitchen and currently being used as our bedroom is a favourite spot for our gorgeous Staffy – it gives her some peace from the kids. Anyway, upon entering I saw she had recently moved from by the fire and there was a huge wet area on the floor. I assumed that she had had an accident so quickly cleared it up and told my sailor about it. No more that 5 minutes later I went back in there to find an even bigger puddle on the floor. I shouted for my other half and he came to help me investigate. A torrent of water was flowing in through a small hole in the bottom of the plaster board. The wall wasn’t wet but the water just kept coming. Every towel in the house was used to try and stop the flow. At this point I began to wonder what was happening in the room underneath the flood. I ran down to find water pouring through the ceiling – my newly painted ceiling. Splashing on the walls – my newly painted walls. The water was getting deeper and deeper on the floor – my newly laid floor!!!!! We managed to pull up the floor that had recently been done and save most of it. The water just kept coming.
When the rain had stopped and the clean up completed my sailor went onto the roof to investigate and the roofing man appeared. He did a job up there, saying he thought that was where the problem was and it was a temporary job for now. He would be back in september – 2 months away at that time. My sailor did what he could before he went back to sea and I sat with my fingers and toes crossed when I saw the next storm coming across the valley.
Obviously, with my sailor away, 2 boys asleep and on my own, the temporary job had not fixed the problem and in the water flowed again. A friend then came to try and fix it and he said “I think I found the problem i’ve done a temporary job which should hold until your sailor is home.” What the hell is it with these temporary jobs can’t anyone do anything properly?!!!!!
So, a week or so passes. We have beautiful sunshine every day, in fact we were in the middle of a god damn heatwave (48 degrees by the pool). And, what comes after a heatwave – a thunderstorm! This time it was huge. Rain, winds and although it didn’t last long it was intense. As prepared as I could be for the the flood that I fully anticipated and had even planned on in the sitting room and bedroom downstairs, I did all I could with towels, blankets, buckets etc to avoid as big a mess as last time. I had my cousin and her niece and nephew arriving the following morning so I prayed that there would not be too much to clean up – how wrong could I be. This time not only did we have floods in the usual rooms but the drain in the back yard got clogged with mud and debris, it blocked, the patio filled, the water flooded underneath the back door creating a little lake in my corridor. With our new supplies all stored there and having just had the walls and floors finished you can imagine my reaction to finding this the following morning, Operation clean up took on a new level. I had to remove soaking wet cement bags full of rubbish that had been stored there, move plaster boards, radiators and everything went out the front to get dried or go to the dump. About 2 hours later and after using similar techniques to emptying the swimming pool one of my workmen turned up. He is absolutely lovely but he does get a bit stressed at times. Upon entering he said “ooh la la” he looked around and started speaking very quickly and by his tone I could sense he was unhappy. He kept shouting at me the same words, which I translated as the empty bag. “What, the empty bag, what?” I replied. At this point he shouted for Thomas and told Thomas I didn’t understand him and Thomas needed to tell me what he was saying. Thomas agreed and said “mum, he says there was an empty cement bag here, that was very strong at the bottom and he was using it to mix stuff in to do tiles!” I yelled, “Yes I understood all of that but seriously after the morning I have had do you think I care about an empty sack. At this point I think everyone realised by our tones and actions that we all understood each other and maybe now was not such a great time to discuss matters – we turned and walked off in opposite directions.
So, I had a very wet house, that nobody seemed to be able to fix. No bedrooms completed and was about to drive to the airport to collect my cousin and 2 kids. Where on earth were we all going to sleep? what happens if we have another storm? All I did know was that there was only one certainty – we were going to have to drink a lot of wine to get through the next few days. Operation clean up would have to wait I needed to stock the fridge!
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