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„Der Paul war der Dolmetscher bei einem Choraustaustasch zwischen den St. Nicholas Singers aus Northwich, UK und unserem Kinderchor, den „Kolibris“, hier in Koblenz, Deutschland. Ohne ihn hätten wir es nicht geschafft! Er war fleiβig, sympathisch und sehr effektiv.“
Ulrich De Waal, Chorleiter, Koblenz-Pfaffendorf, Germany, April 1976

Wash Lane Awash! PDF
Monday, 01 February 2010 00:00

altLast Tuesday I got a frantic phone call from my friend in England telling me that my house there had flooded.  Bugger, as if the flooding and bad weather in the Serranía de Ronda wasn’t enough! 

So, I booked a flight back almost immediately and arrived two days later to find a pretty desolate scene.  Water had poured from burst pipes in the first floor en suite bathroom (six bursts we subsequently discovered!), through the floor into the hallway below and from there on down into the cellar, soaking walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, furniture, clothing and shoes en route.
There was at least a metre of water in the cellar, with cans of beer, bottles of wine and other stored items floating serenely on the still water.
The house is in a road called Wash Lane – I’m thinking of renaming it Awash Lane!  Anyway, the house was uninhabitable so it was off to the local Travelodge for two nights.
The emergency plumbers finally arrived four days after the problem was reported!  Don’t talk to me about the mañana attitude of Spanish plumbers!  In my experience they come the same day, usually within a couple of hours.
Anyway, by Saturday afternoon, the water had been pumped out of the cellar, the sodden contents removed to outside, the heating working again, the water back on and the downstairs lighting restored.
Sunday was spent poignantly going through the contents of the boxes my kids had left in storage: childhood memories, school and university photos, cuddly toys, correspondence, school exercise books and university notes, all things that insurance policies can do nothing much about, as they have no monetary value.  A real shame!
Today a man from the insurance company came and assessed the damage, wrote a report and installed driers to dry the place out before restoration can start:  new bathroom, new hall ceiling and floor, redecoration of walls I’d decorated only a couple of months ago, replacement carpets, plus restoration or replacement of furniture, fittings and contents.
I think a lot of us on both sides of the Bay of Biscay have had enough of excess water this winter!  I can empathise fully with those who were affected by the rains and floods in the Guadiaro Valley recently and in Cumbria before Christmas.  Although many of them had it far worse than me, I think ...



Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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