Dear son, quite a Saturday! Phones and Internet were gone all day after about 9 am, up to the time we went to bed; back now this morning. We got a stunning gold in the Games. Hasely Crawford is no longer alone. Toco boy won. Now they can build a stadium in Toco and name it after him. Maybe a plane too. I hope the politicians do not spoil him. Bet he was breastfed and grew up on ground provisions and fresh fish and ran around barefoot all day. An upset bronze. Sorry for the Canadian cousins and it was a marginal decision. Seems to me that in the 400-metres relay male, the Brits ran out of lane too. Nothing happened to them. It all started with rain, sweet early morning rain. Not any more. We got flooded out. When the flooding started it was very, very fast and although I was up from about 4.30, checking on the dogs and so on, when the water began creeping in at 6 am it literally followed me into the house, from the river, the road and the garden. Uncle Jonny was in the back room and by the time Granny called him, the water was lapping his feet. Water was up to my knees in the family room, up to my waist in the road. The pool disappeared and so did Madame, who walked into it and I had to pull her out one-time.
By 6.30 we had set a level at which we were going to evacuate, bags filled with valuables, and we had decided that as the first boy it was up to me to carry the mudder on my back to “high ground,” which was by Father Grey’s former house, 50 feet up the road. Didn’t realise the slope in the valley was so great. People down at the end of the street, next to the river, had to run with dogs, children and valuables at about 6.30 in the morning. Their houses are a mess, filled with mud; furniture and mattress outside on the lawn. Vanessa and Rachel next door lost their cars, which were parked in the street, and various people lost some electrical appliances. Apart from water damage to furniture and mud, mud everywhere, we are fine, tired and sore. Granny was great and worked steadily for the entire morning, mopping and sweeping. She just told me her legs are hurting a bit, which is good for her. Nats came over in her Wellingtons and shorts and stayed all day; no flooding in her part of Santa Cruz. Val came too and refused to go home until the house was in some sort of order. You-know-who claimed “asma” as his excuse for not appearing.
Two deaths, collapsed shacks on the hillsides (there’s almost as much weeping on TV as in the Thirtieth Olympiad, the “Weeping Games”), loads of people without liveable houses and pompous administrators in caps pretending to be giving orders is the order of the day. We were lucky the rain stopped when it did and allowed the river to subside. The water then disappeared as quickly as it ap-peared. Was there a block at the mouth? Seems to me that the last time the river was dredged was when John Humphrey was Minister of Works. Plenty rain that year but no flooding for many years. Perhaps there will be a commission of enquiry into why the former minister did not do his job. As usual he will have lots of excuses. I don’t know what more proof anyone needs that the destruction of the hillsides plays a role in the periodic flooding. There are landslides visible to the naked eye on both sides of the hills that surround the valleys called Diego Martin and Petit. No doubt the politicians will continue to attack each other whilst allowing their friends to build on the hills, after discretely burning down a bit of land—at twilight of course; that’s when “spontaneous” combustion takes place here. Trade unionists and UWI lecturers will support the poorer brethren in their efforts to have a lil house and a piece of land with an informal connection to T&TEC, and the middle class will continue to be squeezed between the rich and mighty and the poor poor. The best thing to come out of this is the way the neighbourhood came together. Chris saved the rat dog next door as he was being swept away. Everyone was out within minutes of the flooding having subsided, and for once, as should be, there was talk and laughter in the road. Derrick lent me his pump to empty water. Mike got his people to clean the mud from driveways. Everyone chipped in. Perhaps what happened is a sign of things to come. A little disaster, no matter how dreadful and saddening, may prepare us for something larger. I hope not. I hope it never happens again, but we came through this better than expected.