Friday, 28 September 2012

Water, water everywhere

On Tuesday, I struggled to get to work. The road I usually take was closed. I took an alternative route. Even so, the dips in the road were full of intimidatingly deep pools of water. By mid morning the outlook was so bad we went home. The surface water was terrifying. I left my car in a layby, put on my wellingtons and set off home on foot with my cello and an umbrella.

The first innundated dip in the road I came to turned out to be deeper than my boots but so what I thought. At least nobody drove through the water as I was walking through it and flooded wellingtons are completely trivial compared with a flooded house. I squelched on. I got to our village to discover that the beck had turned into an even bigger torrent than usual on such days. The wellingtons were overwhelmed again as I cautiously made my way through it, the torrent being the road to our house.

We were lucky. The water hadn't risen high enough to flood the house. Other houses were not so lucky. Usually the beck only rises high enough to impress us all with the awesome power of Nature. This time it brought misery pure and simple and left people wondering when it'll happen again and if it could be even worse.

When the water level finally fell, it revealed a road stripped down to its foundations...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


It's getting colder and the nights are getting longer. Soon everywhere will look brown, grey, damp and (to me) depressing. However. there's one consolation that keeps me going through to Spring and we had a grandstand view of it last night. There was no moon, very little cloud and, being a village, very little light pollution: as astronomers say, the "seeing" was good. The sky was overflowing with stars and the massive arch of the Milky Way positively overpowering. One was immediately aware of the central part of the galaxy there, above one's head - so much so, I felt, that I had a sense of walking upside down in relation to the centre of the galaxy rather than (as I suppose one usually feels) right way up in relation to the centre of the earth. The night was so clear it seemed as if that the different colours of the stars (blue, red) were accentuated. The Andromeda Galaxy was dimly visible to the naked eye, over the bungalow at the end of the lane.

There are other consolations (snow men, icicles and the fantastic patterns of ice for example) but there's nothing quite like the night sky in winter. One can go in search of landscapes that please the eye but on a clear moonless night  there's hundreds of thousands of lightyears of landscape to look at just outside the back door.