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Friday, 1 September 2017

Fran's Flood and the Firemen - Episode 2

If you haven't read Episode 1 and want to, it's here

Episode 2 of our tale of flooded-holiday-flat-woe

...... Four firemen followed me hurriedly into the holiday flat.

(I'll say that again. I've always wanted to.)

Four firemen followed me hurriedly into the holiday flat.

Paul was waiting in the hall, surrounded by cascading water on all sides, as though he'd climbed into the Niagara Falls for a photo opportunity.

We explained to the firemen that:

1. The flat was owned by the people upstairs.
2. The people upstairs were away on holiday.
3. There was another flat next to ours but we thought it was empty.
4. Yes, we'd dialled the number of the owners while awaiting the fire engine and had left a message, but no one had picked up the phone.
5. No, we didn't want to die.

We pulled on coats and followed the firemen outside while they went to inspect the Big House. Outside the gate, the fire engine flashed its lights and kept its engine running. Curtains twitched in the houses opposite, and no wonder. At two in the morning, in the dark street, that much light and noise was enough to wake Sleeping Beauty early, consigning her to eternal spinsterhood and leaving the Prince, arriving at 100 years on the dot, also fated to eat Pot Noodles alone for ever.

From an upper window at the back of the house, on the second floor, the firemen found water escaping and coursing down the outer walls. So, the leak had started on that floor, made its way through the first floor, and down into our basement flat. That was determined water.

But how could the firemen get into the house? Forcing entry would set off burglar alarms, giving them another problem.

They used long ladders to check all the windows. It being the kind of house that makes our own house in Leamington Spa look as though it's shrunk in the wash, this took a while. But they found one window that hadn't been locked properly. In they climbed.



There's a twist in the tale.

Remember I said that there was another basement flat as part of the Big House which we'd thought was unoccupied? Well, emerging from it now was a sleepy man in a creased shirt saying, 'What's happening? I've just phoned the police. I thought I heard burglars in the house above.'

Sure enough, two police officers soon arrived, blue-lighting towards the house. 'We got a report that burglars had arrived in an emergency vehicle,' they said, laughing with the amused fire officers. 'Not very subtle burglars, then, arriving in heavy boots with blinding torches and a stolen fire engine.'

Neighbours' curtains double and triple-twitched.

At this point, things had got pretty convivial. There were the two of us, the newly-discovered neighbour we hadn't known existed, the fire officers and now the police. As I said in Episode 1, I was tempted to ask for a selfie. But, no, again, it seemed the wrong moment. I did think of saying, 'Shall I make us all a cup of tea?' but then I remembered: no electricity.

Paul and I went back indoors rather than shiver in the cool, dark night, and we sat in the unflooded living room by the light of a torch a fireman lent us. I think we said, 'Well, this is a holiday with a difference' at least three times each. A young fireman - I suspect apprentice - had been tasked with the job of mopping out our flat to remove as much water as possible while three others worked in the house above, doing the same. We could hear him at the back of the flat. Mop, mop, mop, squeeze squeeze, bucket of water down the toilet. Mop, mop, mop, squeeze, another bucket of water. I went to say to him, 'That must be hard work. I'm sorry I can't offer you a cup of tea,' and he looked up from his mopping, sweaty and weary, as if to say, 'It's actually more helpful if you don't mention the tea I can't have.' I brought him some orange juice laced with my guilt.

Just after four o'clock in the morning, the firemen had left, the police had left and the neighbour had grumbled back into his flat, also now in darkness and without tea-making facilities. Paul and I said to each other, one more time, 'Well, this is a holiday with a difference.' He climbed back into bed but I knew I wouldn't sleep; I snuggled under a duvet in the living room in my clothes and listened to the World Service news all about the Texas flooding victims. I felt, despite all, blessed.



Episode 3, soon to come, will cover the post-flood shenanigans including the Unexpected Arrival of the Giant-Bee Dehumidifiers.


19 comments:

  1. One for the memory books. Too bad yu didn't get that selfie.

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    1. The right time never seemed to arrive for the selfie. Arrggh. Missed opportunity.

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  2. Oh poor you! It's funny how there are always four fireman. We even had four when we reported the smell of fish in the chimney. They had big dirty boots, and colds, so they couldn't smell anything. We never did get to the bottom of that one.

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    1. Ha ha - that's funny. Fish in the chimney? There has to be a story there.

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  3. Giant-Bee Dehumidifiers? This is getting to be science fiction!!

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    1. You bet. Move over, Orwell.

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  4. Instead of lacing that orange juice with guilt, you should have dumped in a delicious dose of vodka. It cures what ails you, and it makes the most unexpected event into a party!

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I might have got my selfie that way ... true ....

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  5. Living in Malvern as we do, I thought you were going to find that one of the many water sources caused the flooding! Though when our basement flooded a few years ago it was also a burst pipe.

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    1. You live in Malvern? I'm jealous. I really love it. We've been twice now and will definitely come again, despite the flood-memories!

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    2. It's a good place to live. You can get fit just walking up and down the main street without needing the gym -and that's before you try the proper hills. If you cross the road in front of our house, the path goes practicaly vertically straight up the hill! Always wonder why it's so popular as a retirement spot. But the views are spectacular.

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    3. You're so right. How come people retire there? If I did, I'd just spend all my time in that lovely park, looking up at the hills and being glad I wasn't one of the people at the top.

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  6. Very jealous of all those firemen šŸ˜‰ Great installment. Looking forward to the last one.

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    1. There's a picture of a hot fireman in Episode 3, Deborah.

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  7. "curtains double and triple twitched", yet none of them came out with a warm blanket or cup of tea for you? Tsk tsk.

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  8. I did have a giggle about the twist in the tale.
    Husband & I were out sailing on our wee boat a couple of years ago when spied a woman & teenager in a small inflatable dinghy floating out to sea. They'd lost an oar but the older woman was clutching her beer can tightly just in case that went over board too. We called the coast guard then managed a spectacular save ourselves. When the lifeboat arrived & the two women were hauled over from our boat the older woman asked for a selfie with the head life boat man. His look could have frozen the sea over.
    We heard that other members of the group went out in the inflatable later that day & had to be rescued too. The coastguard confiscated the dinghy !

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    1. Ha ha - I love that vision of her clutching the beer can! And I can just imagine the man's frozen-sea look. Ha ha!

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  9. The firemen mopped all the water up ?
    How amazing !

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    1. We expressed our surprise - we said we'd expected to be left with it all to mop. He said they wanted to leave the property as safe and dry as they could. I could have hugged him. (I didn't. But one gets emotional at 3 in the morning.)

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