We've not been flooded (yet) but I know a bit about what people affected this week are experiencing. There's the smell, the ruination of carpets, decoration and furniture. The damp hangs around and the dirt constitites a potent health risk; it can take weeks for a house to be fit for inhabiting after it's been flooded.
But people I've met who've been through this are filled with a sense of loss for little things. Gifts from their closest relatives, photo albums, books.
Our possessions don't define us - we are not our sofas - but some kinds of belongings are rightly closer to our hearts than others, and losing them costs so much more.
Flooding is temporarily replacing crime as the middle class worry of choice. I was offered 'flood gates' by my friend the other day - she was costing them for her basement flat. Am I alone in going home at the end of the day and breathing a sigh of relief that no freak inundation has wiped out my ground floor?