The Flood……we were lucky
As the waste water cascaded onto the floor of the Elfhouse, I wanted to run, but I knew if we abandon the house, we could lose everything. So I held my ground, we all stuck it out, even our house guest, Marco, he was right beside us doing all he could. The overflowing toilet and bath increased the flow of water into the Elfhouse. We jacked up the furniture with some more blocks. I was so thankful to have Marco’s help. I was thankful that we had so much material from our building project stored in the barn and I was also thankful for the two pumps in our fish pond. Gianfranco ran to the pond and pulled out the second pump and brought it to the Elfhouse. We started the second pump in the bathroom. The water in the Elfhouse descended. We were winning again. By 15:00 the water crested. The water was up to the top of my thighs in the courtyard. The barn, garage, my son’s unfinished apartment and our cellar were flooded. The Elfhouse was flooded but all the furniture was dry. The floor of the main house is somewhat higher than the rest of the buildings. The water seeped into the main house through the front door but fortunately ran into a storage room off the hall which still has an original stone floor laid on earth. The water disappears under the floor. All in all we were really lucky. We didn’t lose our home, we didn’t have any furniture that was damaged. All of our power tools were stored on shelves above the water line. Our garden tools were hanging on the wall of the barn. I had left our car on the street instead of parking it in the courtyard. If I hadn’t gone for mushrooms in the morning and moved the car, we would have lost it. If I hadn’t been out that morning we might not have seen the water until it was too late. If I hadn’t followed the dump truck through the standing water, I wouldn’t have made it home to help. Yes, we were lucky. We had all the things we needed to protect our house within easy reach due to the ongoing construction work on our house. We even had two pumps that proved to be essential from a failed attempt to raise fish. Who would have ever imagined that we would need those two pumps so badly when we started our Aquaponic project the year before.
After a few days the water drained away. Leaving a lot of strange things that floated in from the flood. Apples for one thing, hundreds of apples laid on the ground in our courtyard. Plastic bags of trash, empty plastic bottles and containers, plastic balls and toys. Lots of plastic. Even a couple of plastic rubbish bins. A layer of fine mud blanketed everything under the water line. Clean up took a few weeks. When summer became fall the walls of our house and buildings were still saturated with water. Water remained in the cellar for three months. We lost all of our wine, pickles, jams, potatoes and preserves. The cellar was emptied of all the provisions I had prepared during the summer when we could finally get to it. During the winter the water froze in the walls of the buildings causing the walls to expand and cracking the plaster which covered the wall. By spring the plaster fell off. The floors remained damp for nearly a year. Mold and mildew grew along the base of the walls.
A year has passed since the flood. Most of the damage to the walls was repaired this summer, although there is still signs of dampness. The cellar was cleaned and sanitized, but is still very damp and a strange mold is growing on the floor. I continue to treat the cellar walls and floor with boron and copper.
The summer of 2010 had the worst flooding ever recorded in the history of the Czech Republic. Almost every region in the country was affected. The flood waters in Orel came from the hills around our village. Orel is situated in a flat valley between two rows of hills. The water rose slowly creating a large flooded area across the plain. In the mountain areas torrents of rushing water swept away everything. Many people lost their homes and possessions, some even lost their lives. Like I said, “We were very lucky.”