Saturday 15 October 2016

Up in the dark for access

Water is a terrible thing. Yes, yes, it is the flood and fundament of all life and that's just grand; but only if it is reasonably stable inching around in discrete bags. When it is travelling, however, it has frightening power, as you will find if you search youtube for 'flash flood'. It's been dry enough for the last week and we had a frabjous weekend down on the coast 5-6 days ago, beach-combing and wood-chopping. But Met Eireann has been forecasting a front coming in from the West [R moving up and off-stage, the yellow circle is more or less where we are] this Friday. Is it the tail end of Hurricane Matthew or is that too soon?  We've been on our 'umble farmlet for 20 years now and have lost the lane twice in floods, so I am more aware than most people of the need to keep the drains clear [prev, prevlier]. We are 30m up and 300m along from the county road believe me that water can travel down this 10% slope. The key is to keep the water in the drain and off the road surface. When we first came my neighbour-below and I went halfsies on the cost of concreting the base of the drain for the first 70 m between the road and his gate. Curiously, he showed no interest in going halfsies or anything at all on the 230 m above him. Because if there is a failure higher up, his roadway will [and did] go as well. The drain is clearly on his property and therefore clearly his responsibility but it's not in his character to go all protestant on keeping it cleaned.

With Winter approaching, it's been in my mind to spend the 30 minutes it takes to shovel out the clods and cut back the brambles so that the water can run free and not leap from its bounds. The predicted front arrived [a little late] after dark yesterday announcing itself with a long rolling clob! of thunder and hosed steadily down all night. I knew that the drain would be running this morning which would help scour the drain as I cleared the lumpier stuff. But the front moved off and the rain turned to drizzle at 0500 hrs and I couldn't wait for dawn. So I drove the little red Yaris, me and a long-handled shovel down the hill and spent a fruitful half hour clearing crud in full beam of the headlights. The rain was over but the water was running, so we made a good team and I didn't get soaked. And when I'd finished, I pootled back home and had a nice cup of tea.  I won't get any thanks for taking one for the team in this way: that neighbour stopped speaking to us years ago; sad really . . . but not really sad.


  1. Congratulations on confidently entering your second millennium without blinking. Long may the innings continue. Hope you don't have to dip the shovel in the mud as often as the nib in the inkwell.

  2. Having all the slates off our roof for the moment, I, too, am apprehensive about water falling from the heavens. Fortunately it's been an incredibly sunny October for us in the Pond of Eden.