As I may have mentioned, we have removed the lid to our house. We have a team of between 4 and 5 working on it full time. I watch the weather forecast with an eagle eye and on a daily basis. So when I read that we were expecting light showers on Tuesday Terry and I went up and jimmied a temporary plastic tarp covering. We felt very pleased with our efforts. Balancing over 30 feet in the air atop the gables wobbling horribly as we tucked and tugged and weighted the tarps.
We went down very pleased with our work and just as we were returning from Krasno Gradishte and a friends house the sky began to light up with a tremendous electric storm. It was a wonderful thing to see. However 5 minutes later the sky turned purple black and thunder interspersed the lighting strikes and of course the inevitable happened. As we drew into the grass verge outside the house rain drops the size of saucers began splattering us, hitting the ground and causing splash backs that reached my thighs. There was no time to worry. We hauled arse for the scaffolding ladder and watched in horror as the tarpaulins began to collect the cascading water in frightening quantities. Considering we were atop a metal structure higher than the house, simply the act of standing atop it was akin to a game of Russian Roulette as the electrified forks split the skies asunder. It was impossible to hear each other through the crack of the thunder claps. Terry and I gesticulated madly at each other. I collected buckets from the garden and scampered up those ladders in split seconds. Terry began bailing the collecting water from the ever swelling tarp traps. We managed to empty the side with the scaffolding but the back of the house was without scaffolding. We made an instantaneous decision to stand on the roof and under the tarp and lift the water bubble over the side of the wall. The weight of the water was immense. Anyone that knows Terry and has seen him working will know he has Herculean strength and I’m no lightweight. We stood side by side both heaving, eyes popping with the weight. We gave a final push and to our horror the water never made it over the wall it walloped down on us from the edge of the tarpaulin and cascaded into the interior of the house. We saw the lights all fuse out one after the other and were left soaked to the skin and frightened. Poor Amalia was inside the house and we could hear her wailing.
Ami with the dogs sheltering from the leaking house in the summer kitchen
We were down that ladder like rats down a drain pipe. The hallway was ankle deep in water. Water was pouring out the light fittings in our beautiful front room and our bedroom. In what will become the study there was literally a waterfall streaming down the wall and flooding the next room which is storing much of our stuff. We had to accept that there was nothing we could do. Amalia was freaking out so we left the house and moved into the summer kitchen. I bought in 3 garden chairs and Amalia bless her had gathered up all our electronics as she left. She rather amusingly sat opposite us saying “we’re all going to die”, ” he house is going to fall down” and “the roof is going to collapse on us”. She said all this in a monotone and it was so bizarre that Terry and I both broke out laughing. It was a que sera sera situation. I put the kettle on and the dogs sat at our feet. Of course the bloody rain didn’t let up and as night time fell we had to make the decision as to whether the house was safe to re enter or not.. A quick deco told us immediately that there was no way we could sleep inside. We collected Ami’s mattress and bedding and set it down in the summer kitchen. We had to cover the floor to the storeroom, currently Terrys workshop, and bring our slightly damp mattress down there. We left Vinnie with Amalia and took Bodie with us. Crikey I’ve just remembered we had brought back a simply beautiful ginger tom cat kitten with us from our friends Tony and Debbie. He is an absolute morsel of love in a fur coat. Unpreturbed by either our cat killing dog Vinnie, whom Amalia has rather tongue in cheek renamed the ghost faced killah, or the storm of biblical proportions this little kitten snuggled up to Vinnie and purred in complete bliss. We however passed a very uneasy night; a very fitful night indeed.
The “ghost faced killah” protecting the little ginger morsel of love in the throes of the storm
The morning did not bring good news. As the light broke we entered the house. The water had receded in the hallway but the 3 rugs we’d thrown down were sopping and muddy. The soon to be study was a stinking wet mess with pools of water and soaking walls. The front room had leaked through the light fitting on to our new rug and the wooden floors. Thank goodness the yacht varnish we had used had prevented any damage to the floorboards. In the bedroom was another story. Water was still dripping persistently through the spotlights. Pools of muddy water covered the floors and it smelled terrible. In fact the water from the roof was so worrying the plasterboards were beginning to bow. Terry got the drill and began drilling holes into the plasterboard and water streamed out into a collection of buckets and bowls. If he hadn’t have done that the ceiling would almost definitely have caved in. However there was no time for tears or recriminations. The roofing team were due and I had to line up hot drinks, great hunks of toasted crusty bread and decide what to cook them for lunch. They are a real good natured bunch and I knew they would put there all into securing the roof for us.
I love cooking and I especially love cooking for people who enjoy eating. Terry tells me he is so proud of me for catering for the crew. Every day I make them a home cooked meal; I make pans of fresh chilli relish and bowls of tzatziki to accompany my meals. Sometimes I barbecue meat and on other occasions I make meat and potato meals or pasta and meat. I make sure that they have hot and cold drinks through out the day. Declan a tall and rangy Irish man told me he had never been so consistently well fed since he let his mothers house 30 years ago. Another asked if I would give his partner cooking lessons, I swiftly told him that under no circumstances was he to mention that to his partner. I can imagine the outrage! So as Terry manages this good natured crew the roof begins to take shape. Heavy wooden purlings are being fitted and will be on show between the plaster boards. In hindsight Terry and I would never have been able to do the roof alone or it would have taken months and months. With the crew it is going to take 3 weeks. An expense we could do without but following the storm we have realised the importance of ensuring we are properly airtight and weatherproofed for the forthcoming winter. I am going to be alone next week as Terry has a job with the digger in a nearby village from Saturday to Wednesday. And on Friday Dani and Alfie arrive in Sofia for a 10 day sojourn with us. Let’s hope the rain holds out! The vines have been most grateful for the deluge giving up resplendent purple and what I am presuming are the Muscat variety of grapes. Despite having a pip in the middle they are simply delicious. I have no idea what I am going to do with what appears to be about 30 kilos of grapes!