The upside of flooding

James Combes

With short days and cold nights taking hold and huge downpours across the country, many people will be worrying about a repetition of the terrible floods that hogged the headlines last year.
But people should not fear flooding; they should embrace it. All they have to do is think laterally and they will find themselves laughing in the face of bad weather, and mischievously tweaking the nose of fate.

Think of all those water-logged properties in Oxfordshire, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire last year. Think of the opportunities: property prices fall, people move away. Don't despair - embrace the chaos.

This is the best time for first-time buyers to get on the ladder. Go ahead. Bite the bullet. Buy that water-logged house at the knocked-down price, even though the posh estate-agents are all laughing at you. Take advantage of the circumstances. So what if the lower level is water-logged and home to a family of ducks? So your cat has to wear water-wings downstairs? That's not necessarily a bad thing. The rest of the property is fine. It's simple: live upstairs and send your cat to swimming lessons.

Do up the house and re-advertise, changing the words carefully to suit your situation. Never underestimate the power of words.  "Previously gorgeous, now utterly water-logged, Oxfordshire town-house, near to the river (well, in it, actually)" sounds quite negative.

Change it to:  "Gorgeous Oxfordshire town-house, scenically placed  — comes with OWN SWIMMING POOL".

Soon you'll realise that you're onto a winner. The house will be snapped-up by keen, rich, swimming types. They like the idea of being able to go swimming without getting the car out of the garage (just as well since the car doesn't work underwater and is to be traded in for a dinghy next week).

Failing that, should you actually want to keep your house for your own family, simply advertise the lower level of the house as a municipal swimming bath and charge people  £2 a session. And there you have it: problem solved. Soon everyone will want a house like yours. All you need is lateral thinking  … Oh, and possibly some wellies.