Firstly… we’re ok.
There has been an extraordinary amount of rain in our neck of the woods this week. So much so the word unprecedented has been bandied about quite freely. But it isn’t everyday you see people wading through the airport up to their knees or water cascading over motorway barriers like a infinity pool or sloshing about inside buses.
Sadly this has been a devastating event, affecting a really large region, taking many by surprise before sliding further south to wreak havoc in more communities. The amount of rain broke records. The highest number was at the airport which recorded 249mm in 24 hours! The worst part of it all is lives were lost and homes have been destroyed. It was … well…. Unprecedented.
For us we were ok. It isn’t like we didn’t get the rain, we got 150mm in that period, with 50mm coming in an hour in the middle of the night! This is where living on sand is such a blessing. We had surface water for a while but it was gone not long after the rain stopped. At our old place in the swamp the water would have lingered, mixing in with the water from the previous outburst. There it can take a week or more to drain away, but not before levels get so deep it becomes a flood. We’ve seen some aerial footage from that neighbourhood in the news and it would seem that is exactly what has happened – the flat farmland has become an ocean with the tops of fence posts barely showing through the murky water.
We haven’t come out completely unscathed but it is barely worth mentioning in the face of what everyone else is dealing with. We had to put buckets out to catch a few drips from the ceiling, but not really anything to bother the insurance company about… But it did prompt us to do something dramatic…
Our house was built in the 1930’s and has suffered the indignity of being relocated twice! Each trip, ten years apart were about 200km each. House removal is a wonderful way of saving an old house from destruction for a very good price so was a great option for us. The thing is our house is stucco, with a solid cement coating which, in general, protects us from the worst of the wind in this harsh environment.
The thing is, with the moves, the stucco has picked up some cracks along the way. For the most part this hasn’t been a problem. A regular coating of paint keeps the stucco in good condition; however we haven’t painted the house at this point. Firstly, we were distracted by other things…. Maybe a garden… and then we took ages to choose a colour. Then we thought we’d do it ourselves, but never found the time. Then tracking down a tradesman has proved to be next to impossible, so there have been delays.
This storm, while being a terrible disaster and without being glib, it was a bit of a blessing as it made us notice all was not well on one of our external walls. We pulled off the gib board and pulled out the insulation and exposed the frame and were shocked to find some wet patches on the inside of the outside wall. It wasn’t bad, there was no mould or rot, just wet – possibly accentuated by the unprecedented amount of water.
We consulted with our excellent kiwi architect friend, who just happens to live in America, who coincidentally was being visited by another friend of ours who was also a great architect. So, with the best advice given to us by our trusted source over the internet we feel confident in fixing this ourselves. Considering we probably aren’t the only people ripping gib board off their sodden walls right now I expect the hardest bit of the project will be sourcing new gib board when we need to put it back on again. Once again this hasn’t been caused by the storm, just highlighted by it, so its not an insurance thing.
In the meantime, the garden is ok. It is quite soggy but I’m not doing much until it all stops as there is no point. It is always best to wait until the weather calms downs before attempting to make repairs, to avoid causing further damage. Besides, it’s still raining and I don’t want to get wet and that is ok.
Come again soon – hopefully normal summer will resume soon.
Sarah the Gardener : o)