Sunday 27 September 2015


Just when I thought things were starting to fall into place with the build, disaster struck.

We had been away for medical, dental and opthalmic  checkups and to take the opportunity to catch up with friends and family when we received a message that the house had been flooded!

As we discovered on our return it was not simply water damage that we had to contend with but a very thick layer of mud. (see below)

It seems that whilst we were away there had been a couple of completely unseasonal cloudbursts in the area resulting in a large volume of water and mud pouring down the mountainside. When the backfill and earth covering of the roof was done the whole area had been landscaped to blend the house into the hillside. It had been anticipated that the gentle rains of early winter would slowly settle this backfill into a natural looking bank. Unfortunately the torrential rain experienced in the downpours caused a major water/mud gully to be formed straight down to the ventilation shaft for the main room rather than running off to either end of the house as planned.

The reason this caused us a problem was that in the ventilation shafts in the main room and the two bedrooms are slim opening windows that run the length of the ventilation shaft. Before we left these windows were fitted BUT the locking mechanisms on the vents were not in place and the vent in the main room was in fact flapping open. This had been the case for some time since the window company, despite repeated pleas, were unable to supply the locking mechanisms as these were manufactured in Germany and had been caught up in the clampdown on imports and money transfers imposed by the Greek Government. With the baking heat of summer upon us the worst we expected was to have to sweep up twigs, leaves and dust when we returned. Not, as we found, mud covering and infiltrating every where. C'est la vie.

My main objective was to get the house cleaned up and habitable as quickly as possible and then make a rough assessment of the damage.

Such a task was beyond our energy and stamina levels but luckily Thomas and his workmate were up to job and in the course of one very long day managed, with a Herculean effort, to clear away the whole dreadful mess. We are sincerely indebted to them both.

The first stage was to move everything from the affected areas out onto the terrace to dry out in the hot dry air and sunshine.

The initial major clean up involved soaking the caked mud to turn it back into a slurry and then, using a couple of good old fashioned dustpans to scrape up this slurry, pour into buckets and then dispose of the bucket contents down the hillside. The worst affected areas were the main room, the scullery, and cool store room, over 80 sq.m. in all.

After this initial clear up a power washer was used to clean up the walls go over the floor once again. Here the drainage system installed for the sunken runners of the sliding windows proved invaluable as it was possible to sweep surplus water away through this system.

Finally good old fashioned mops and buckets were used to go all over the floor of the house.

As areas dried out the contents of the house were returned inside and allowed to continue drying. Later when I was feeling more positive I was able to make a rational assessment of the damage to all the goods that were in the house. The major damage was to all the IKEA flat pack kitchen components which, whilst annoying, could be replaced.

This experience of the impact floodwater and mud can have on what is really an industrial building is more than enough for me. I can only envisage how awful it must be like for those who suffer flood damage in more conventional homes with timber floors, carpets and soft furnishings etcetera.

Our first sight of the MUD!

Close up of the mud, grit, twigs etcetera.

All flat pack kitchen units, (built and unbuilt) ruined by water and mud ingress.

After clearing out first stage was wetting the mud to form a manageable slurry.

Scraping up the slurry using old fashioned dustpans.

Power washing the walls and floor after removing the bulk of the mud.

The unbeleivable result of the clean up team's very hard work.