I Saw You Coming

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Gloucestershire floods that devastated a large part of the Cotswolds last summer.

By this time last year we were actively looking for our Cotswolds cottage, working with several local estate agents. On the morning after the flooding I called one of them to arrange a viewing and was highly irritated by getting an answering machine during business hours. I was to expect this sort of unprofessionalism when dealing with “rural folk” was the chastening I got from husband.

Little did our superior urbanite selves realize that the estate agent’s office was completely flooded. Bourton on the Water was now known as Bourton Under Water. And yes, the estate agent informed me when she returned my call mid-week, the lovely little cottage we had seen the previous week had also fallen victim.

When we were let into the cottage a few weeks later for a second viewing, the ground floor was in disarray. Industrial drying fans rumbled on bare concrete where flooring, damaged beyond repair, had been ripped away. We were still smitten, proving the adage that house purchases are emotional. Using the perverse logic that most married woman have resorted to at some point, I even saw the bright side of the flooding: there wouldn’t be any arguments with husband over replacing the industrial beige carpet and wood effect vinyl flooring – what would have been “perfectly good” floor coverings to him. (I realize how incredibly petty it is that I had this thought in the midst of devastation that is still wreaking havoc on so many people’s lives. I’m not proud, but at least I’m honest).

We made an offer on that visit. The owners probably couldn’t believe their luck so soon after the floods. Then again, they probably saw us coming.

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