A few weeks ago there was a sudden downpour and it was absolutely sheeting down for about twenty minutes. I was standing in the kitchen at the time. I stood and looked out of the window for a bit, marveling at how hard the rain was coming down and murmuring a prayer of gratitude for our warm, cosy home. I was so grateful to be inside, safe and dry.
Then I walked downstairs to the cellar and saw the river pouring in.
Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humour.
After an initial freak-out I reminded myself that the house has stood for around 120 years and it's probably not something that hasn't happened before. Grant and his dad went down to have a look (and set up containers to catch the water pouring in!) and my father in law concluded that it was the weeping holes in the bricks and that it was probably normal as the water had to go somewhere if it got into the wall. Mental lightbulb went off - so that's why there is a two inch gap of bare earth all around the edges of the walls, not because the flagstones wouldn't fit! It's for drainage.
However, just because it's all normal doesn't mean it's desirable. We went outside to have a look and realised that the sudden deluge had flooded over the edge of the gutter and into the bed beside the bay window and next to the door. Here's a picture from when we first moved in.
All the water soaked straight down and right through the cellar wall.
As soon as we had fine weather again Grant pulled up the bed edging stones and laid plastic sheeting from the house to around 5 feet away and put the gravel back over. This will redirect the water away from the wall before it can soak into the ground. I plan to eventually put a couple of nice pots where the bed was.
I snapped this before he had finished covering the plastic.