The new hot-water cylinder/geyser in the loft exploded at about 8am this morning and flooded the kitchen and bathroom. Water gushing down through old wood beams. If the house had modern ceilings, they would have come crashing down.
Neighbours heard the loud bang and rushed over as I phoned the housemate on my low batteried cell phone and she called the electrician/plumber, the landlord, more neighbours. The dogs were safely herded into a dry room, we moved furniture. The landlord arrived and promptly lost the keys to the gate, began shouting orders at everyone. I had turned off the electricity (my terror of live electricity, water and lethal shocks) and was setting out buckets as rugs rippled on a tide of muddy water, fruit bowls overflowed, and cordoned dogs barked furiously, Slipped in the kitchen ankle-deep in water and wrenched my back, my neighbour skidded down to join me. We helped each other up, laughing and reassuring one another. The kitchen and bathrooms sluiced with a torrent of water that flowed out into the back yard. The water mains were turned off and the loft mopped down, then we set to work on the wooden and tiled floors. A river flowing right through the house, water everywhere, tide marks on table legs, the skirting boards stained and swollen.
‘A flood!’ shouted my elderly neighbour J as she and her husband came over, bearing flasks of coffee and dry blankets, old towels in case the dogs were wet and needing a rub-down. The housemate rang every five minutes to check that the dogs were fine.The dogs of course were in seventh heaven with all the noise, excitement and attention.
‘Think of this as a good spring-cleaning opportunity!’ joked the electrician/plumber. I smiled weakly at him. He has just had a heart bypass and must not be upset or agitated by anyone. I have no idea what went wrong with the new hot water cylinder, but he went up with three assitants and replaced the cylinder within 40 minutes.
A literal deluge. But there we are with hot and cold running water again, insurance claims to be filled out, the floors drying, the house scrubbed and neat again, habitable. Rugs and tablecloths hanging up outside in the bright winter sunshine, cushion covers soaking in sudsy bath water. Neighbours chatting over mugs of coffee. Dogs running around outside and sniffing the mud. In a short while I shall lie down with a hot-water bottle tucked against the small of my back and reflect on how to go with the flow, how to ride the tide of circumstances with equanimity.