Flash floods, blocked drains and the calm after the storm.
I may have been forgiven for feeling relaxed, calm and energised during my stay in Zakynthos, Greece over the past week. With the tourist season over and house-sitting for my aunt on a less populated part of the island, I have been enjoying my daily walks in the peace and tranquility of my natural surroundings.
I have always loved being in nature but there are aspects of being in a remote, mountainous place that are not quite so idyllic.
For a few days the sun had been shining and then the rain started to fall…
Two days ago Zakynthos saw some of the heaviest rain in the past century here, witnessing flash floods. After a fire that nearly burnt the house down earlier this year, my aunt would have been forgiven for thinking that her house had escaped the worst of it. However, in just a few hours her house was filled up with over 12 inches of water as a flash flood hit.
It was a sobering experience to have our neighbours knocking on the door to tell us that the downstairs of the house was flooding. I walked downstairs to find my bedroom flooded and the basement of the house in 12 inches of water and rising quickly.
After unblocking the drain, which was filled with soil from the mountain above us, I went back into the house and crossed my fingers.
Before going to bed at about 1 am I rechecked the basement, only to find that the drain had blocked again. Soaked and groping around in the dark (not for the first time in my life!) I eventually found the offending drain and managed to unblock it.
This is not an experience that I recommend.
I waited up for another hour before going to bed with my fingers crossed as water entered my bedroom, paddling my way to bed. I had no idea what would be awaiting me when I woke up but was grateful to find that the worst of the flood had passed. We had a bit of rain and a gale blowing the next day but I was grateful for not having to wade through water and mud in the early hours of the morning. According to the locals it was the worst flooding in 86 years, following 20 hours of rain.
Today I was able to help with the cleaning of the basement and start drying out the contents. My aunt is certainly in for a shock when she returns to her house. However, we are all ok, the house is intact and I am feeling very grateful for today’s warm weather. I went on a long walk to reflect on the events of the past 48 hours and realise that I will now enjoy the rest of my stay here even more.
Having gone through a storm, a flood and a major clear out I find myself even more prepared than usual to appreciate the things in life that matter the most – my health, my friends, my family and the beauty of the calm after the storm.