After The Flood

Entry by: Alobear

10th December 2015
After the Flood

The Great Sewage Disaster of 2000 marks that autumn indelibly in my memory.

You see, at my parents’ old house, there was a beautiful garden. It started with a patio that abutted the back of the house, with an expanse of lawn stretching up a steep hill to a sort-of plateau at the top. To one side, twin sets of steps bracketed a layered rock garden, where a hand-painted gnome worked with his spade, and a pair of stone rabbits frolicked in the bushes. The garden was surrounded by a high wooden fence, and well-stocked flower beds ran around the border. It was a tranquil place, the venue for many a relaxing summer afternoon in my teenage years.

I never gave much thought to the man-hole cover that lay at the top of the steps. It had just always been there, and had never been any cause for concern or curiosity.

Then came the storm, one of the worse I can ever remember experiencing. The rain came down in sheets, the wind howled, and thunder could be heard throughout. Afterwards, water levels in the pipes below ground increased as the rain drained away. As it turned out, beneath the man-hole cover in the garden was a sharp bend in a sewage pipe, with a section cut out on top to give the water somewhere to go after heavy rainfall. What hadn’t been anticipated was that the rainfall could be so great that the waste would hit the bend at such speed as to burst upwards and actually dislodge the man-hole cover. Once it had escaped to the surface, the steps gave the sewage the perfect route down the house.

Even fifteen years later, I vividly remember the sight of twin waterfalls cascading down the sides of the garden and washing up against the back of the house. Luckily, the memory of the accompanying smell has faded. The damage was extensive, the most lamented casualty being my old upright piano, which couldn’t be salvaged.

I guess I should just be grateful it meant I never had to listen to my dad trying to play the piano again…