I thought I would be looking at plants all week. It rained. I thought I?d be writing whole chapters of a new book. But I am distracted because our real home has flooded.

Our house might have floated away (we?re on a stream, we have sump pumps) if cousin Paul who?s been staying hadn?t gone back for something he forgot in my bedroom which is below grade. Water was running all over the floor.

And so it went for hours. Our neighbour is R. H. Thompson a major actor and a really great person to have next door. Robert and his son Andrew came with a sump pump and helped save furniture. Stuff I couldn?t replace like an art deco dresser. Stephen our resident opera singer came over and they all worked valiantly. I could only stew and wait for phone calls here.

It?s been a nerve wracking couple of days. I?m making big decisions when I cannot see what?s actually going on. On top of that it?s been raining California-style: coming down with such intensity it?s almost sideways. We?ve felt trapped in the apartment. And then the sun comes out, the air is redolent with rosemary and you forgive all.

But our poor home is being torn apart. This lower level of the house (aka basement) was designed by Anacleto Designs before they went on to the award winners they are. There isn?t a detail of these lovely rooms (my bedroom, dressing room and spa bathroom) that I don?t love. It?s where I spend much of my time. It?s also gorgeous.

Now everything that was hit by water has to be replaced: floors, dry wall (Stephen had just repainted everything and it was looking fabulous), stuff to be thrown out books, clothes, carpets. It is to weep but what?s the point. Not a thing I can do about it.

My poor cousin, Paul, has not only give up his real estate business to deal with this which seems to be a full time job, he?s taken on this whole labour and must rue the day he said he?d do me a favour and house sit. And my lovely friends and neighbours once again come to the rescue. How do you survive without people like this? What if no one had been around for days? What if we had been in France?

The insurance people acted really quickly, the wreckers are coming in asap. The Anacletos have found a cabinetmaker to deal with taking out all those glorious built-ins store then and then return them intact. And it will all have to be repainted. The floors are hardwood so that?s going to be a three act play. If I was there I might switch to tile but at this distance I?m just letting everything stay the same. As much as it can be.

I am feeling lucky once again that someone was in the house and noticed; that we have these wonderful people who care about us. Maybe next week I?ll get to see some gardens, some lovely plants and walk by the sea again without thinking of anything very much at all. Maybe, but I count on anything.