D'ye live in these [Western European Archipelago WEA] islands? How was Storm Deirdre for you? It was wet wet wet for us. It rained from wee-hours Saturday 15/12/18 for 24 hours. I got up at first light and, with my azada and a shovel in gloved hands, I went to clear the drain that runs up beside the lane to our house. It's important to do this in the rain because then you can see where the debris is getting accumulated and scoop it clear. I was thereafter confident that the water would run away below us. In the early afternoon it eased off a little and I peeked out of the gate to see water roaring down the drain from above. I wasn't surprised: Storm Deirdre delivered about 50mm of rain in 24 hours. Usually 24 days would have to pass to accumulate that much precipitation. 15km East of here, the River Slaney burst its banks at Enniscorthy [again] and flooded the shops along the quay.
It was no time to creep back under the duvet and hope that things would be okay. Therefore, I shucked myself into my rain gear and plodded up the hill with my tools. Sometimes a mighty back-hoe is the tool of choice - ripping and tearing and dumping stuff in and out of the way: but they make a terrible ragged mess which will be particularly vulnerable to subsequent water damage. Sometimes a more focused Little-Hans-at-the-Dyke attack is better. In 1997, after we suffered the first destruction of our access road from a surfeit of rushing water, I button-holed one of our neighbours as he drove up the lane to talk about a solution. I pointed to a heap of 2-inch-down or Clause 804 gravel in our yard and said he could have as much as he wanted to make berms across the lane above our house. We agreed 4 places where a small intervention would turn any water off the road surface and into a big drain that would take it elsewhere. The next few times he went up the mountain to view his sheep, he brought up a front-loader full of aggregate and dumped it at the appointed places; and smoothed it out with a shovel while I was driving a desk up in Dublin. Over the years, these humps have settled down and grassed over and are, for intermittent flash floods, as good as concrete.
My Deirdre task was to make sure that the exits at each of these escape chutes were not clogging up.
his newly created pasture and dumped it all in a heap on the county road. That Spring he'd been clearing and smoothing that 4 hectare field having knocked and buried and levelled all the walls and drains and ditches that had separated the 5 smaller fields which he'd bought at auction. After the storm and the loss and destruction he confessed ruefully: "The village idiot stood on the ditch and called out 'Sean, Sean, where's the water going to go, Sean?'" He had to get the back-hoe back on site to restore the drains that kept the mountain catchment delivering itself into the top of his 4 ha field and leaving 5 minutes later from the bottom corner.
can be fun but only if you box clever. Being water blind [Fr. aveugleau ?] or staying on the sofa watching telly when it is hosing down outside is just laying yourself open to more expense and trouble later on.