So for those of you who don’t know our area I know that’s most of you. We live in a small village in South Wales called Aberdulais.
Our street is on bank of the Tenant Canal a row of terrace cottages which were built for tin plate workers in 1800 stone built two up two down.
Behind the cottages is a disused collery train track, then wait for it the neath canal.
The river Neath then runs across the top of our street. Then higher up the river is a junction where two Rivers meet.
Bridges, arches and aquaducts add to the landscape of this liminal place that we call home.
I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
It’s a special place canalside walks ducks, geese and most importantly an amazing community. We are a true melting pot eclectic in every way.
Call me an eternal optimist but I really do believe that most people are inherently good. Canalside has proven that again this week our community pulled together and got on with it.
I cooked for everyone, my hubby Jeff my son Mike and the men dug trenches to drain water we baled with buckets as the water ran into the back doors of the cottages and out of the front.
My next door but one neighbor had only moved here in April his house was one of the worsed hit. .
Vicki and Dai are a young couple who both work hard for what they have they have two small childen their house was ruined Vicki’s beloved piano laying on their sofa in an effort to save it as water and sewage ran through their home.
We have our house and also own the Retreat no 28. It’s a community interest company. Everything I do benefits the community providing restbite breaks for cancer patients therapies & workshops we run on a shoe string the water ran it the Retreat too
So here we are no one complaining just encouraging each other helping and supporting where the council, environment agency and welsh water let us all down.
Now I’m not political at all. .but three years ago envoroment agency and council did a dummy run in the street with flood gates showing us what would happen if there was ever a flood threat.
Gates were fitted sand bags brought I for one felt reassured there won’t not be a repeat of 1995 disaster.
Yesterday there was.
The rain started Friday early hours. storm Callum was approaching Wales.
Whilst at our son’s wedding reception in Swansea we received a call to say come home the street is being evacuated. The river had risen so much it was flowing over the top of the aquaduct and the canal was fit to burst.
We rushed home expecting agencies who were issuing the warning to bring us promised flood gates and sand bags..
They didn’t arrive 7am sat morning when most houses were already baling water a small council flat back arrived issued us all with two sand bags each..
Yes two which they placed at the front doors the door where the water was escaping. The water was entering the back.
The council Professed to know nothing about gates.
A few hours later water rose through the drains toilets sinks spewed sewage mixed with rain water .
Fire brigade arrived and scratched their heads where could they pump it too?
They left. Local councilor came to the British legion at top of street dressed in Wellingtons. Had she come to bale water.
Afraid not she too left.
The only one that stayed was the rain.
From 8am until late last night we worked as a community together I’m so proud to live here.
T.v crews came people stood on the bridge to watch.
Eventually the rain stopped people’s flooring furniture possessions now litter the canal path houses are ruined
Most of us have no flood insurance why. We can’t afford it.
So is anyone to blame ?
Well this afternoon Welsh waters clean up team arrived (who knew they had one)
We told them what had happened.
Can’t have been the drains they said
But it came through the toilet sinks baths manhole covers.
Not our fault they said.
We live on a flood plane shouldn’t we have bigger drains?
Or storm drains I asked.
No idea came the reply.
So as grateful as I am for my wonderful friends here where we live we are getting there the clean up is in full swing.
Things could have been much easier.
So environment agency where are our gates? And where you joking with your two sand bags? Wonder if we had a M P living here would we have had more.
One of my amazing friends Becky drove over from Lougher to bring us floodsax amazing gel filled bags that works much better than sand. Much easier to deliver but cost more .
So I guess no one want to take ANY responsibility for the way we a small street families with small children, babies and elderly where ignored offered evacuation but precious little else.
Don’t tell us it wasnt the drains houses now small of human excrement.
Families need new carpets new furniture dehumidifiers, the list goes on.
But we will get there we have no choice this is our home. This is our family and we will fix it.