I’m trapped and alone … there is no Internet connection and I can’t listen to music as the volume of the radio doesn’t go loud enough to drown out the hammering on the roof of the caravan, which sounds like I’m stuck in a car wash on full speed. It’s becoming white noise. The same applies to any attempts to watch television or a film. All I can do is write, typing my thoughts and fears into a simple Word document, hoping that someone out there will eventually read it …
My attempt at a bit of horror literature perhaps? No, the truth is our Autumn weather has decided to show us what it can do and, after three days of heavy rain, it’s now got even heavier. Marcus ventured out into the house earlier this morning to do a bit of manual work (I think after three days on the laptop he was going a bit stir crazy) and decided today would be a good day to dismantle our marble sink which we are wanting to relocate into an outside kitchen eventually. I stayed in the caravan to do some bits and pieces but the rain since has got heavier and heavier so we can only catch glimpses of each other as we go about our individual chores, neither one of us wanting to get soaked to the skin, again.
I did manage one trip outside when I caught the thumbs-up sign from Marcus as he mouthed that he’d freed the sink from the wall. So I donned my wet-weather gear and raced over to help him lift this beast of a thing out of the way. We’d hoped to loosen it into its individual pieces with some artful angle grinding from Marcus but instead it had come out in one huge piece. However, judging by the size of the hole left in the wall when we heaved it out of the way, it looked like the sink had been put there first and the house then built around it!
I then decided, as I was already wet, to wander around our land at the front of the house as Marcus had done so earlier and said that we had quite a few new waterfalls on our land, as well as a couple of streams and a lake! He’d also checked the well and this was now full of water, a rise in level of around 4 metres in 3 days. So I set off down the drive, accompanied by the rushing of water down our recently constructed driveway drain which was working brilliantly, stepped over the stream forming at the bottom before it ran into the ‘canale’ at the side of the road and headed up the road to the storm drain which prevents a torrent of water running past our house and instead diverts it under the road and out onto our land at the other side.
As I turned from looking at this new stream heading off to soak our neighbour Giorgio’s newly seeded fields, I noticed the waterfalls that Marcus had mentioned – three or four tippling out of our stone wall, contributing to the stream I’d had to jump over on our driveway. None of them were doing any damage as they were just the excesses that the hills can’t cope with now that the ground was saturated from the previous days’ rain, but they were quite pretty to look at. However I know when Marcus looked at them earlier in the day he would have approached the whole scene with his engineer’s mind and would no doubt have a shopping list of drainage products in his head to stock up on. One sad thing is that the badger sett that was newly constructed at the end of the Summer, seemed to be the source of these little cascades as a fair flowing stream was making its way out of the exit (the entrance is in the top field) – we can only hope that Barry (yes we named him one night when he came to feast on the walnuts under our tree) and his family managed to move to higher ground, or at least invested in some scuba gear.
But none of this was unexpected (well maybe the snorkelling badgers were a bit of a surprise) as we’ve finally found a weather app for our phones that seems reliable, this one recommended to us by someone in the nearby village and is specifically for our valley, which is very important as each valley has its own micro-climate. The house has existed for nearly 200 years, the last fifteen before we bought it, it was left empty and uncared for, and despite the amount of water outside, we have never found a drop (or a drip) inside. Yes there are some gutters to re-level and some downpipes to mend and obviously Marcus’s list of new drainage bits to purchase and install (I was right, he had been thinking about some improvements) but when we see the house on days of extraordinary weather such as today, we get to understand how the house and the land work. Being part way up a hillside means we get flowing water through the garden, but it continues into the valley below us, after kindly giving us some waterfalls to enjoy and filling up our well.
A flicker of life on our Internet gave us a connection later in the evening and we managed to catch up on the ‘maltempo in valbormida’ (bad weather in the Bormida valley). It seems our waterfalls and streams were nothing compared to the flooded towns, cut off roads, burst river banks and collapsed bridges that have rightly had most of Liguria on official ‘allerta rossa’ (red alert) all day. There are towns without electricity and drinking water and the river further up the valley from us has seen a rise in water levels of over two metres higher than ever documented, and it’s a wide river in the first place. A mayor of one of the local towns has described scenes that he has never witnessed in over 50 years and the Civil Protection are out in most of the towns, helping stranded people and providing a full report on the events of the day, enabling people like us to count ourselves as some of the lucky ones.
I’ve just checked our new reliable weather app to see what tomorrow has in store and hopefully we’ll be seeing the last of the rain by sometime tomorrow afternoon. There’s even a bit of sunshine on the forecast for the next few days with a suggestion that any washing put out on the line should dry, but what’s this … Thursday next week … ‘neve da confermare’ (snow to be confirmed)! Well if it’s true I will certainly be giving you the details in my next post … if I’ve got an Internet connection that is!!
Update … I wrote this post on Thursday and thought an update would be helpful. The heavy rain continued through the night, accompanied by some pretty ferocious winds, however we woke to blue sky yesterday so were able to get out and check our land for further damage … but we only seem to have suffered an additional small ‘frana’ (landslide) behind the house – which actually helps us out as it was some earth we wanted to clear anyway – its now on the ‘fascia’ below making it easier to shift.
We did venture out in the car to collect some drainage bits to remedy some of the excess water and, on the way, had to drive past a couple of the towns mentioned in Thursday night’s papers. There are still some closed roads, a car parking lot is full of cars with water surrounding them all at windscreen height, the river is enormous, still flowing very fast and a lot of trees on the banks have been swept away, the roads are covered in debris and there are various clean-up operations underway in some of the warehouses that line the river bank. Even our local policeman was spotted organising a tidy-up of the playing field in the town as that had been underwater and is no longer lush green grass, but more of a mud-bath littered with broken trees.
And finally … Barry the badger’s sett had collapsed in the top field, along with two further large holes opening up nearby which we assume were more of his tunnels (we’re thinking maybe the corridor to the master suite with walk in wardrobe, and the secret passageway to his hidden library) but there are already fresh paw prints and a path of flattened grass leading to higher ground so we think his swimming lessons must have paid off.