Floods


During our first winter in Turkey (2010/2011) we were flooded 3 times. The first, in October, was major wet stuff. Malcolm took the dog for an early morning walk, it was dry and pleasant. By 0930 the heavens had opened, black clouds dimmed the sky, lightning and thunder was continuous and fierce – and it stayed like that for 24 hours.
Mid-morning saw a wall of water rolling down the street in front of our home. It kept rising, washing away newly planted trees, flowerpots, unlucky cats, stacks of firewood. It threatened our car, so I waded out to it and drove it upriver to higher ground. This was an expensive mistake! Although it’s a diesel, immersing the car to windshield level did it no good, and we have had numerous breakdowns, turbo problems, injector problems, various electrical failures. In retrospect we should have watched the car sail off to Greece and then claim the insurance.
After I parked the car, I thought I would wade back home. A mistake. Even though I had my walking boots on, I soon lost traction, and a surge of floodwater knocked my feet out from under and I was swimming down the street. Our village employee Murat saw this and came to rescue me. We propped each other up as we battled to stay upright for just a few hundred meters to arrive bedraggled and bemused at home. Malcolm was rushing everywhere, lifting furniture and computer, mattress and books to higher levels as floodwater rose in the house. Somewhat dispirited we phoned our friend Bayram, who drove to the village and waded to the house as soon as he could, checking that we were safe. Then, as water levels began to fall late in the day, he worked like a Trojan to empty the house, then used the garden hose to wash mud from cupboards and floors and then empty it all again.
I survived an illness that came from ingesting dirty floodwater and getting chilled, insurance paid for repairs to appliances, and we were back to normal.
There were two further floods that season, another severe enough to enter the house again.
We managed to see the funny side too.

Since then we have invested in flood defenses: flood gates to street, reinforced front wall, pump with float switch installed in a sump in the garden, another sump & pump in the house, raised hardstanding for car, and more modifications to drains, toilets, and floors in the house.
This past winter the floods only reached to top of the kerbstones, just moving puddles really. Our defenses remain unchallenged. I am tempted to feel disappointed.

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