We woke up to the soothing sound of running water and looking out beyond the shutters of which I opened just to see what was going on I saw a thaw like I have never imagined possible. We had just got used to the two foot deep white vista around us and this morning it was gone. Anna called from her mobile to say her village was flooded but they had found a way out and we all met at Jacqueline’s for cider bottling with little difficulty but lots of intake of breath along the way in shock at the quantity of standing water in the ditches and in the fields.
We had 600 bottles to fill and between the six of us it only took two hours, but it was cold, wet and dark. Dark because the French amaze us by being satisfied with so little electric light to work by. Our kitchen had one forty watt bulb over the table when we moved in and now we have six low energy bulbs hanging from the beams and another in the fire place, Mike assures me we are burning very little more electricity but by golly it is worth the extra just to have light to live by.
This afternoon we lit a fire and warmed ourselves before unloading our 150 bottles of cider. I noticed that Graham had marked his bottles with a stick-on dot to identify the year, so I spent an hour marking mine as well and double checking my closures as we have used a new design this year and I didn’t really take the time to check that they were secure enough, and not wanting to loose sleep counting plastic corks popping off my bottles, I gave the wire secures an extra special twist.
Whilst I busied myself in my cider store, or should I say my cave now storing in the region of 500 bottles of cider, Mike went on a discovery walk around the site to see where the water was draining away and check that it was. We have discovered that there is a drain by the garage. It is constructed under the outbuildings on the other side of the court yard, we imagine that these old and primitive buildings did not include any thought about the water courses and escape routes, but they did and we have been told that these old barns were constructed with drains and sumps benieth them to ensure that the working parts of the farm were kept free from water logging. We are learning that water courses have to be respected and maintained, and The Maire often puts up public notices to say get your Foss cleared and maintained, it is your responsibility and today is why he is so insistent. We have also discovered that the field drains down in front of the barn and into the pond so if the pond outlet becomes blocked then it is very feasible to imagine that the water would keep rising and start to march towards the front door. So Mike has a pond-drain-cleaning-rod on 24/24 patrol at the front of the house so we can be in control of the pond level and eliminate the danger of getting our feet wet in the kitchen.