Pensioner's brave battle with the sea
Published 09/02/2014 | 02:30
PAULINE Mellor (86) was sitting in her kitchen with her cup of coffee, keeping one eye on the TV for the latest weather bulletin as huge waves crashed against the shore just metres from her home.
Within minutes the water had totally submerged the ground floor of her house: destroying carpets, floors, curtains, furniture and wallpaper and creating a mess that's not going anywhere anytime soon.
Passage East in Co Waterford was hit on Monday morning by a combination of high tide and strong winds, which led to the sea clambering over the natural defences and on to Blynd Quay and into streets behind the quay.
The problem was exacarbated when channels which normally lead water away from the streets and houses were blocked up by the flood water and their contents had nowhere to go, except back into the houses.
"I was in here looking at the telly," Pauline told the Sunday Independent.
"I always have the door closed looking at it. I came out to the hall and met it [the water] here. I said, 'where is the water coming from?' Next thing, it rushed in.
"The whole house downstairs was covered," she continues. "It was an awful fright."
Back outside, pointing at the ruined furniture, carpets and flooring currently resting at the front of the house at Post Office Square in Passage, she added: "All them had to go, and the furniture. I had sandbags up and barriers, but it came in the front and into the little bedroom at the back. All the skirting boards and all came off in the water.
"My son and his wife came up, they pulled all the lino up and the mats and put them outside. I'm not able to do it. I'll be 87 in June."
A native of the fishing village nestled along the Suir estuary, she remembers Passage East being flooded in the past: "Years ago, but nothing like this."
Pointing out the damage and the damp around the kitchen, sitting room, hall and back-bedroom of her formerly cosy home, Mrs Mellor hopes her insurance cover is sufficient to cover the damage. But a lot of work needs to be done to restore the house to its former self.
"New carpets, new lino, new furniture. The curtains were wet too. My daughter-in-law took them up and is going to get them cleaned."
Since Monday, family members have been in and out, cleaning out the water, trying to sort out the furniture, removing anything that can't be saved.
Grateful for all the help but hoping for no reoccurrence of the weather that drove her out of her home and caused such misery, Mrs Mellor – whose husband died 15 years ago – went to stay with her sister nearby during the week, while the clean-up proceeded.
"But I came back here, upstairs. I'd rather have my own house."