Life & all that Jazz: Flash Flood

LimmattalerZeitung May 2018


For weeks, my husband and I had marked in our agendas this past Friday as the evening to do a bit of cleaning in our cellar – getting rid of bits & bobs we no longer use.  Nature gave us a helping hand in the decision process (you know the sort: Do we really need this? Should we chuck that?) when our town was hit by a flash flood last Wednesday.  To have a (muddy) tour of our area, just click here. A waterfall came pouring in around the frame of our cellar window, flooding the entire level; every neighbour had the same problem, so we’ve seen a lot of each other this week! Fortunately, our micro-geography kept us from getting a mudslide from the nearby (higher) agricultural and forest areas, and the water only reached 4-5 cm.  Others were not so well-situated, and several underground parking garages were buried in mud baths up to the car roofs; some people had hurried home to avoid hail damage to their cars, only to have them totalled as they were parked inside…


The company that handles our property’s administration organized de-humidifiers and large fans for each cellar room, but we had a busy few days trying to assess damage, getting things dried off or off the floor to let it dry out; the only things potentially disasterous were the small freezer we had there (fortunately, we didn’t have much in there at the time!), and boxes of one of our music CDs (ironically, titled “Plausch im Räge” – “Fun in the Rain”!); only the bottom boxes were affected, so I only had to hand-towel-dry 300.  When Friday rolled around, it was quick and easy to downsize our storage! It’s liberating to simplify; we tend to collect things over the years – large plant pots, picture frames that we used to have hanging in our old flat but which have had no wall space here (because of odd-shaped walls in every room), an assortment of hardshell suitcases that weigh more than half of today’s luggage allowance when empty, and so on and so forth. What we could, we gave to a charity shop, and the rest was quickly disposed of at a nearby collection service.  There’s still more to sort out, but we’ll have to wait for the floor to dry completely before we can move things back into place to get to the other half.

I was reminded once again what great neighbours we have; everyone pitched in together, and asked if they could help, or were concerned if others had suffered loss; all of our cellars have been open and drying, and everyone trusts each other with that; everyone is in and out of the other cellars, emptying the dehumidifiers’ tanks when they need them, checking window seals, etc. I’ve lived in areas (e.g. in Paisley, Scotland) where that would simply not have been possible – a nearby neighbourhood, Ferguslie Park, was one of the roughest in the UK, and if you left a bike outside of your flat inside your building, even with a lock, it would be gone within a few hours – or sometimes even minutes.  I hadn’t realised how used to the sound of gunfire I’d become until I moved to Switzerland; when the first national holiday approached and people started setting off fireworks a few days early, I’d just assumed they were gunshots.  Here, neighbours pull together; people greet each other, even strangers, in the streets; and though modern society tends to isolate each of us in our own, busy little bubbles, sometimes it’s a good thing that those bubbles of self-sufficiency, routine and agendas get popped.


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14 responses to “Life & all that Jazz: Flash Flood

  1. Your video was very dramatic. I found myself holding my breath while watching it. I’m so glad you are OK.

  2. I truly believe we in Switzerland are still benefiting from a long legacy of godliness, which shows itself in a general culture of honesty, trust, cleanliness, work ethic, efficiency and uprightness, as well as a stable political system, good educational and medical institutions, financial prosperity, etc.

  3. My husband arrived home drenched because he was underway with his bike; neighbours out with cars were stranded several hours in standstill traffic. Otherwise, at the time of the storm, I didn’t realise what was happening further downhill from us; I just watched the storm coming down in waves. I’m glad everyone is okay, too!

  4. I agree, absolutely! We need to continue that legacy! 🙂 And I don’t know of any other country where one can pay for self-picked flowers and fruits by putting the fair amount in a box nailed to a post in the field, or unmanned farmers’ shops with crafts and canned goods for sale, trusting customers to write their purchases in a ledger and put the money in a cash box!

  5. The depth and force of the water were unbelievable. Your husband must have felt like a drowned rat.

  6. I’m not sure how wide-spread it is, but small farmers in New York (on Long Island) leave vegetables and flowers on small stands by the side of the road with prices listed and a box for the money. We see it here in North Carolina, too. When tomatoes and corn are ripe, a homeowner next to the service station puts them on a table for people to buy. It’s marvelous, and I hope it will continue for years to come.

  7. When I had the good fortune to spend some time in Kyoto back in 1985, I noted (with a little envy) that stores often had small pricey items in open displays near the doors.  They were confident that there was hardly any risk that somebody might step in, grab a few things, and then step right out and vanish in the crowd.  Stocking a store that way in a big city in the USA would be financially suicidal.

  8. It’s great to know that honesty and trust are still with us! 🙂

  9. Shops here often have racks of clothes or other items outside (near their entrances) here, too…

  10. Ohh, sorry to hear about the flood but good to know about your community spirit. Not as common any more, I’m afraid.

  11. Thank you. The aftermath is still being taken care of, but it showed us what we’re made of, once again. 🙂

  12. anglicanepiscopal

    Stephanie, I came to your site through a word search on “Trinity” and read about the flood. The sense of community is what I think a lot of people are looking for: a place where one can rely upon their neighbors. Be safe, and thanks for your reflections. Fr. Phil

  13. Welcome! You’re right – it’s the craving described in Psalm 133:1, isn’t it? 🙂

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