Sunday, 22 August 2010

Heavy Weather

I am sitting here, along with a few million other people in the south of England, bathed in gentle sunshine and waiting for the deluge of rain that is forecast to drop on us tonight - three inches in a few hours, followed by destructively high winds, apparently.

I quite like extreme weather, just so long as the roof holds out. We have quite a new roof, with very well made lead work and new slates, but the design is 18th century Georgian, and - unlike the Victorians - the Georgians were crap builders. Bath is all a facade - the Georgians cared more for external appearances than sound functionality, and our roof is a prime example of their vanity.

We live in the top two floors of the sixth house on a terraced street which slopes gently - almost imperceptibly - downwards toward the river and past us. The construction of our double-pitched roof entails two lead parapet gutters front and back, which take the rain that falls onto the single pitches on both sides. More importantly, there is a centre 'valley' gutter - also of lead, and in the middle of that, there is a small hole (about 4 inches across) which leads to an open, lead gutter within the roof space and directly over Her Indoors' bedroom which discharges through a small hole on the back of the house, straight down the sloping slates and into the rear parapet gutter.

None of the other five houses above us have a little hole in their centre gutters, which means that we take on ALL the water which falls onto ALL the double pitches of ALL of the other five houses.

With light rainfall (and without a silly pigeon deciding to nest in the middle of our little hole) the uneven distribution of responsibility when it comes to disposing of rain water is hardly noticeable, but when it comes to weather conditions which would make a good back-drop for the reenactment of 'Noah's Ark', then we don't sleep so easily at night.

I realise that - when compared to what is happening in Pakistan right now - these are trivial worries about something that may never happen, but it has happened in the past and if you have ever been woken up at 3 o'clock in the morning by gallons of cold, dirty water cascading onto your duvet through a live, electrical, ceiling light-fitting, then you will know exactly what a rude awakening that is.

I had better go up on the roof and have a quiet word with the pigeons this afternoon... and the crows... and the gulls... and the jackdaws...


  1. If you've ever wondered how Google make their money via these free blog sites, then check the adverts that appear as soon as you have posted your blog. This one sparked off about 6 from roof repair companies in my area of England! Very clever.

  2. Oh tell me about it! Our house is Georgian with the valley guttering between the rooves. It's not only the Georgians who were crap builders. We had a 'firm' to replace the lead - it's leaked ever since and we have a series of plastic ice cream cartons along the top of the wall catching the drips. The snow last winter was the worst - as soon as it melted - floods!! I do sympathize with HI - at least we don't use the room except for 'storage'!

  3. Brighton's the same. All facade, with walls built of rubbish. If it rains after midnight it will be 'Full-Moon-Rain'. Collect it and sell in tiny phials to tourists as a cure for wrinkles, or warts, or the vapours.

  4. Funnily enough, Molly, the roofers who replaced the lead on ours were bloody wonderful. They had a bloke who actually welded the lead seams with an oxy-acetelene torch! If you've ever watched lead disappear into rivulets at the slightest touch of a low flame, then you'll know what a skill he had. Snow is a nightmare for us too - I have to clear it before a thaw.

    Cro - ghost visitors, cures for the vapours using full moon water... are you alright, old chum?

    I suppose you could make a Welsh TV series, Molly, called: "How Clean is my Valley" (sorry...)

  5. Strangely Tom...we in southern ontario are experiencing very heavy rains at the moment too. Is it Cro's full moon?
    Hope the roof holds.

  6. I love extreme weather, myself, except for extreme heat. Bring on every other form. I love the drama. I'm in love with your roof. It would make a fabulous painting.

  7. It would make a fabulous back-drop for 'Coronation Street' too, if there were a bit more red brick, Willow. (don't ask...)

  8. It's now 09.10 pm and it's started raining...

  9. Oh oh. keep us posted. Wishing you a dry night.

  10. Well, it's now 8.30 in the morning, and the sun is shining. There was a little rain over night, but nothing like predicted. I'm almost disappointed, bee.

  11. Hi Tom

    Jacqueline has sent me your way. I wish I could send you the rain over Surrey has been off and on for a while now. I hear you are the expert on Bath. We are visiting this weekend, our first time around. I expect we will be mixed in with large crowds with the long weekend. We have our list of sights to see and then some. Afternoon tea is a bit confusing. The Royal Crescent is booked...any other recommendations?
    I think this is going to be one of those trips where we take in what we can and come back and explore our favourite spots another time. We are only an hour and a bit a way from the area so that should be possible.

    Looking forward to following your blog when Blogger get's itself together. It has been bouncing back following requests all day.

    Best wishes for a good dousing of rain...after we leave on Monday :)