A notice appeared the other day on our village board asking local inhabitants, who had in some way suffered damage from last Sunday night’s “water bombs”, to fill in forms which might entitle them to financial help for the damage to their properties.
Apart from a temporary river running on one side of our house we did not suffer substantial damage. However, it was a very different story with an acquaintance of ours who lives in an old mill in the nearby and very beautiful Val Fegana. That fateful night the river actually changed its course, decided to short-cut though a bend and ploughed straight through his lovely garden, which is now somewhere at the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea, leaving a devastation of erratic boulders instead.
Fortunately there was no loss of life although his poor donkey’s grazing area was reduced to a fraction
The dogs lost their kennel and are now forced to live in a habitation fit only for humans. The cat, however, is unperturbed by the incident as only cats can be.
Luckily too, the car was not parked in its usual spot, which was violently swept away: it had, by chance been placed further up the road.
The new (this year’s) wooden bridge linking our acquaintance’s property to the outside world was largely preserved. It’s now the third bridge on the same spot since we first knew its unfortunate owner!
The point is: is this disaster a recent phenomenon or has it always affected our acquaintance’s property? I did some research on this and found that major catastrophes happened around this stretch of the river in 1992, 2007, 2009 and 2011. So the frequency seems to be increasing worryingly.
Who is to blame for the calamity? The river (or rather torrent) Fegana demarcates the boundary between two comuni that of Bagni di Lucca and that of Coreglia Antelminelli and that, in itself does not bode well for any agreement about flood control.
The fact is that if thirty thousand euros had been spent by the authorities, as promised, in new embankments our acquaintance would not have had the misfortune of seeing years of garden toil (and pleasure) swept away and of now cussing the authorities for their ineptitude and utter disregard for someone who has given hospitality and pleasure to visitors to the area, contributing substantially to the provincial economy.
Fortunately, Mr H. has had widespread experience dealing with truculent business problems in his past work consultancy and is bearing up well to the calamity but we felt that on this occasion he was very near to the situation involving the proverbial last straw…or last log…..