Sunday, 19 June 2016


Last night we went to Thaxted to see my parents. Nathan realised he was finishing work at six, and because we've had such an astoundingly awful week, we thought it might be good to visit the folks for a bit of TLC and one of my Mum's now famous "cold collations." It was a lovely evening, and we took ourselves down the road to Sally and Stuart's house to drink a few cups of tea and watch their new chickens finding places to roost for the night. Chickens are curious beasts. As soon as the light begins to fade, they find an elevated spot and instantly fall asleep...

The journey home was plagued by rain storms, the sickening flash of a speed camera on the M11, and the mother of all midnight traffic jams on the North Circular. We arrived in Highgate at 1am, and it instantly became rather clear that the rain had been particularly heavy in these parts. There were strange piles of sediment on the pavements, almost as though there'd been some sort of dramatic flash flood.

On entering our house, the smell of damp immediately told us something wasn't right, and, sure enough, when we walked into the living room, the full extent of the mayhem became apparent. The carpet was soaked through. I walked across it with bare feet and the moisture flooded over the tops of my feet. The ceiling was a mass of soggy brown wall paper, but worst of all, my camera, a pair of high quality headphones, our music chest and Nathan's computer were sitting in the middle of an enormous pool of water. The music in our chest is now all warped and water damaged, the camera and the head phones were in water proof cases and seem to have survived, but Nathan's computer was utterly fried. He'd forgotten to back it up for some time, so has lost weeks of work on knitting patterns.

You simply don't expect to return to your third floor flat and find your belongings under water. We have, of course, been experiencing problems when it rains for some years. Our landlord keeps bringing work men in to fix it, but there seems to be an issue with drainage on the roof which becomes catastrophic when the rain is heavy. It has, however, never been like this before. We've often needed to put a bucket out to catch a few drops here and there but the area this flood covered was six times that of any other previous water damage. It is really very depressing. Nathan's heart instantly broke. He's been holding it together all week, and this just seemed like the final straw.

We went to bed utterly disconsolate.

We woke up today determined to remedy the situation and spent the morning with the heating on and the windows open whilst making phone calls to various insurance people. Our landlord was genuinely and touchingly upset and promises to remedy the situation decisively. It seems that the carpet will need to be ripped out and that the ceiling will need to be re-plastered and re-painted. I have a horrible feeling that the very beautiful Edwardian window casements will also need to come out. I don't want to think about it, it's too horrible.

Fortunately it was Craft and Cake today, so we crawled through the streets of London to Catford to see Julie, Sam, Abbie, Tina, Uncle Bill and the lovely Kate Jarman who had her delightfully hirsute three week-old baby, Jessica in tow. The girls took it in turns to hold her whilst making cooing noises, but kids for me only become fascinating when they are able to talk. Jessica is definitely one of the prettiest babies I've seen in a while, however, and if she turns out like Kate, she'll have a brilliantly naughty sense of humour. She was perfectly behaved and spent the entire time sleeping.

It was chocolate cake and scones today, and a wonderful stir fry made with Sam's new rice cooker.

We have finally tracked down Ru Paul's Drag Race Season Seven and are watching it before bed with Nathan wearing an eye mask. Just in case there was a sense that the poor bloke wasn't suffering enough, he now has blepharitis. I shall be glad when this week limps to a close.

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