Developing

I was there... for a very soggy season by the seaside

Summer 2012 saw me opt to have a break from Northern life and move South to the sunny seaside town of Exmouth, Devon, where I had secure some seasonal work from May till September. Initially, this all seemed hassle free; I had a nice, fully furnished, well-located flat to move into with virtually no rent, so the money I earned - which was paid on a weekly basis - would be mine to save, spend and generally do with as I pleased. By the seaside: Mike Williams

Having been offered this seasonal position, which was at a seafront cafe-cum-ice cream parlour, I was under the impression I'd be receiving a 40-hour-a-week wage. However, as soon as I started I quickly learnt that it really was a seasonal job, because it completely depended on the weather as to the hours the place opened, or whether it opened at all some days.

It started well enough; as I clocked up 30-hour weeks and the money began to trickle in. The occasional rainy day saw business suffer, and was therefore needed less on some days than on others. Once I was made aware of the potential downpour that was about to hit England - and specifically the South - the consecutive days of rain begun to affect me financially. No work meant days off, which in turn meant I was spending more on food, rather than eat for free there, and also more as a means to entertain myself. It also meant that the time I did have off saw me sat in because of the terrible weather that engulfed my little ground floor flat.

As my hours began to decrease more and more, the restriction of having spends on hand became a bit of a problem. However, as soon as the torrential weather ceased, the money would start to return again.

However, the wet weather wasn't simply an issue of working and earning money. The flat I was living in had both positives and negatives to its structure. The positive aspect came from the front of the place: even though it was a ground floor flat, the drainage system was adequate and there was a stairway leading down to the front door. Thankfully, there was never an issue with that part of the building when it came to flooding. The back section, however, was a different story. This area, I was told, was renowned for flooding. Great news, I thought. This area also had a stairway leading from the back door, but the drainage left a lot to be desired - there basically was none. During the days of excessive rain, I'd have to keep an eye out just in case it began to flood. Rain would stream down the steps and towards the vulnerable back door, but there was little I could do to prevent the inevitable.

One evening, during a day I'd been to work but had come home early, I noticed some water in the kitchen (the room that contained the backdoor that lead to the water-drenched steps). Boxes were soggy, as a pool of water had covered almost half the floor.

The only thing I could do was to simply clean up the dampness and throw out the ruined boxes and some of their content. Fortunately, that night and the following day saw no more rain. This gave the flooding outside a chance to subside, but there was still always the question of 'what if?' as I trotted to work each morning, praying that rainfall would be minimal.

As a precaution, I acquired sandbags, which I was able to stack outside the backdoor just in case. To my amazement, as well as good fortune, the rain was never quite as severe as it had been when it entered my abode, so I was able to continue to both earn good money and return home to a dry home each evening.

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