It never rains but it pours


posted by on Black and white, builders, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage

You know that feeling when you’re hit in the solar plexus. You reel for a few seconds before you re-enter reality? Well, that happened to us at the weekend.

We opened the door to Peel Cottage, ready for the last lap – the decorating and finishing touches – only to be met with an indoor swimming pool on the ground floor.

The Paddling Pool

As our eyes scanned the room looking to make sense of the scene. Was it the incessent rain? The waterfall, making its way down the stairs led us to the source – a large crack in the landing ceiling from which water bled as if from a wound.

In-house waterfall

It’s at times like these that you realise who your (new) friends are. We phoned Tim, who runs a property maintenance company and lives nearby to come to our rescue. Within 20 minutes he was knocking at our door faced by our watery tableau: a series of bucked lined the stairs, resembling a Japanese water feature, while Nick and I were busy moving things around, mopping up and turfing out water-damaged boxes.

The cause of all this mayhem turned out to be the header tank in the loft. The ballcock had got stuck and the level rose and rose until the only way to go was over the top. The new plumbing that had been undertaken in recent months had sort of saved us. It had loosened sediment in the pipes which had partly blocked the inlet, meaning that the force of water was significantly reduced. We were lucky to end up with a paddling pool and not open the door to four foot of water!

Nasty gash!

This wasn’t the only watery problem. The heavy rain that dislodged a lot of moss and debris from our “ye olde roofe”. This blocked the valley near the bathroom dorma window (wet patch in bathroom) and the gutter and downpipe at the front of the cottage which had then crept in under the leading of the porch and into the beam above the window…perfect!

I was determined not to add any more moisture to the scenario – no tears, just get on with it and make good! After all, it could have been worse – this could have happened after we’d completed the decor and moved in the furniture!!!

Still, we both felt a little crestfallen after the clean-up. We looked at the damage and realised that there’s a bit of remedial work to be undertaken before we can get out the roller and paint cans.

With no heating – water and underfloor heating are not a good mix – we decamped for the night to The Barr B&B, run by Ruth and Tim. If we’d have made our 100+ mile journey back home, it would have made it all the more hard to return! As always, we had a warm welcome, cosy room and cooked breakfast the following day on which we were able to reregroup for the “recovery plan”.

Insurers informed, we headed off to the tool hire firm for a couple of dehumidifiers to properly dry the place out. There were a few things around the cottage that we could still crack on with, including sanding the oak front door, relieving it of many coats of old varnish.

The next day you see, was dry and sunny…a little bit of brightness to take us out of the gloom!


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