The station seems so quiet without the kids! I’ve been enjoying sleeping in, helping Beth in her classroom (she’s completely rearranging it and redoing her library), working in my classroom, reading, looking at stuff for next term, started working on my schedual for next term, and various other projects. Its so wonderful to not have to be up first thing in the morning, to have the freedom to laze around a bit as well as sorting out things so that next term they’ll be better.
Saturday night Beth and I tried out a sourdough donut recipe that was both very good and has the added bonus of using easily obtainable ingredients. After our little cooking adventure, the single ladies gathered again to watch the next few installments of “Cramford,” a wonderful mini-series that is very Jane Austinesc as well as quite funny. It was pouring rain all evening and as Beth and I had once again planned ahead and NOT brought our umbrellas, we waited for a lull in the storm to dash home. I was a little concerned as Ceili wasn’t waiting at the house for us, and I didn’t know where she was. I was going to let her in the house, but seeing as I couldn’t find her, I went ahead and locked up as normal and went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up about an hour earlier than I wanted to and realized that nature was calling. When I went out of my room into the hallway, I realized that there was a big puddle. I looked at the ceiling and didn’t see any obvious leak, but that dosen’t necessarily mean anything. I went in the bathroom and found several puddles and that the bath mats were soaked through. A trip further down the hall and into the kitchen revealed that the kitchen had quite a bit of water in it too. It was apparent that the water had also gone into the dinning room, but dried up during the night. I opened the kitchen door and found a lot of dirt right outside it as well as a very happy Ceili. Because of where our house is, all the water washes down the road in front of the shop and down our upper path creating a waterfall off our step into the cleverly positioned soak away lid. The water that doesn’t hit the upper path continues down the road, floods the lower path and the porch. During the night we got almost 3.5 inches of rain, so there must have been a raging river coming down the road, then down our pathway, overwhelmed our soakaway system as well as backing up the two drains, so the water came in under the kitchen door while the toiler overflowed. All that to say that we had several gallons of water in our house. Beth and I sopped it up with towels, wringing them into our blue bin and trying to get most of the water from under our cabinets and stove. We pulled the bottom drawer of the stove out to help it air out, and discovered three pans we didn’t know we owned. No wonder we couldn’t close that drawer very easily...
While we were in the middle of mopping up, Mrs. Ronald came over and told us that they were hurrying out to the cottage, as it was flooded. Since they weren’t going to be able to give us a lift anymore, we finished soaking up the water and ate some breakfast. Then I went to church with Margie, Bethany and Michelle while Beth stayed home as she wasn’t feeling well. When I got back I found out that the cottage was not merely flooded, but mostly washed away! Only one exterior wall is left and a few doorframes and interior walls were holding the roof up. Most of the furniture and dishes had floated downriver—the furniture was recovered but most of the dishes are gone. We figure the cottage is about 40 years old, and it was made with sun baked bricks instead of fired. The river had risen more than I think anyone here had ever seen—we’re just thankful that most of the villages aren’t right on the river and we haven’t heard of anyone loosing their house. So, Mr. Ronald got some poles cut and put them up so the roof wouldn’t fall down, so the cottage is basically a chotta now. We saw the pictures last night when we gathered for evening fellowship. We’re debating whether or not to tell Miss Hoyte—its not like she can do anything about it and as far as I know we plan to rebuild it. Its been a very valuable spot for students, staff and visitors.
Today, I mopped most of the floors in the house and swept off the porch so that we wouldn’t track as much dirt in. I helped Beth move a lot of things in her classroom, and we discovered White Ants just starting under one of her bookcases. Better now than later! After lunch, Beth and I took Jill’s truck first to Hillwood to see if my camera charger would work for Helen and then to see if the butchery was open and then into Ikelegne to check the mail, get talk time, and drop some boxes off at the bookstore. On the way back, we gave a ride to a lady and her toddler from in front of the clinic. They were going to the farm as well and since we were heading back that way to try again to get a bag of meal for the Ronalds, we put them in the back and went our merry way. Now, this is the first time I’ve ever driven a left hand drive, and the first time that I’ve driven this truck (its a stick but I know how to drive that), and the first time that I’ve driven on these narrow, potholey roads. About halfway back I got a little too far over on the left and started slipping into the ditch, Beth grabbed for the steering wheel to help correct, hit the windshield wipers, and in the ensuing chaos I slipped the left side of the truck over the edge of the road and into the muddy ditch. Great, my first time out, and we were stuck.
We opened the back of the truck to let the lady out, and then we set about getting out. Beth pushed from the back while I drove, but the back wheels had nothing to grab onto after moving a bit just spun. We bent down the grass to see if we could make some more traction as well as see where we were going, and Beth tried pushing from the side to get me over the hump in the middle of the road on the right side. We were attracting quite the crowd by now, and I was afraid that we were just going to slip deeper into the ditch, tip over, or squish Beth. We were about to call the Ronalds, when a man on a bike came down the road and took charge. With him, Beth, and several of the ladies who were standing around gawking pushing I was able to get the truck over the hump in the middle of the road and out of the ditch. Whew! Then, to my amazement, the lady with the toddler got BACK IN the car as well as teenage guy who was apparently going that way as well. I wouldn’t have gotten back in with me! Well, from there it was an uneventful trip to the turn off where I let my passengers out, then to the butchery where we bought some sausage with lemon (can’t wait to try them...) and managed to get a 25 kg bag of meal for the Ronalds.
We made it back home as it was starting to sprinkle, dropped off the meal and asked Caleb where his parents were. Turns out that they were taking down another tree this afternoon, and it had bounced off the smaller tree beside it (instead of smashing it as expected) and up onto the corner of upper school! The senior section of the library is destroyed—the ceiling is caved in and the walls smashed out. I think the books are alright—the books that were on the now missing wall were thrown out of the drizzling rain into the intermediate section and the rest of the nearby shelves and piano were tarped off. The men were busily carting off rubbish and getting ready to trap off the corner while Mr. and Mrs. Ronald organized things. I’m just so thankful that it didn’t happen during term, that no one was hurt, and that the books aren’t damaged. It’s a good thing Brass Tacks is coming out this summer—we have quite the repair job in front of us.
Despite all these incidents, God has been with us. Our whole house didn’t flood, and the only damaged thing was my bag of meal that was behind the door. I’m drying out the wet stuff in the oven, but most of it was fine. The whole house does smell like corn now... No one was hurt when the cottage washed away, and most of the things in it were recovered. When I went off the road I didn’t kill the car or myself or my passengers, and we were able to get out without having to call the Ronalds. (Which is a good thing as they were rather busy at the library at the time!) When the tree went over, it only took out a corner of the building and didn’t fall down the middle or even onto Room 1 which Michelle has just been paining. Again, no injuries, and very little damage. While life has been a little more interesting than we might like, the Lord’s saving hand has been upon us and this school and the people around us. Truly, the Lord has been good to us. Praise His name!