We’ve seen some weather extremes in our little village of Bromham over the past week.
A week ago I took some photos of a tree in full autumnal bloom that stands just outside my house, and then took the family to the RSPB lodge at Sandy, Bedfordshire, where we enjoyed the burnished leaves in the afternoon sunlight.
It’s rained since then. Not very heavily but — following an official drought declared in April — we’ve had the wettest summer for a century or so, and the ground is so sodden it has nowhere to go around here except the rivers (via whatever the water decides is the easiest path).
So the river just down the road from my house is subject to an official flood warning. The river has burst its banks as it often does here. I took some photos around 11:30 am today, Tuesday, which should be about at the river’s peak. The scene looks dramatic if you’re used to the modest little flow of the River Great Ouse, but the area floods frequently and so the use of the flooded fields reflects that; livestock was evacuated in plenty of time.
The flood plain under Bromham Bridge glories in the name Snake Island — apparently grass snakes live there, though I’ve never spotted one. I hope they slithered away to dry land. In drier times, the snakes are supposed to be to the left of the picture above. Incidentally, if you click on the pictures, you can see larger images.
It looks as if this time we’ve gotten away with it. It’s the next time the rains come that we’re a little worried about, as the ground is going to stay saturated until the spring.
Both autumn leaves and river floods are a timely reminder of the beauty and power of nature. We’re lucky that we can enjoy and learn from them without having to cope with crisis and tragedy. When I used to live in the city, it was easy to feel isolated from nature, living in a high-rise box and with a landscape painted in grey, with barely a blade of green. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss the human-hive vibrancy of a big city, but I took a half hour off work this morning to breathe in the cold and relentless force of the floodwaters, and feel grateful it wasn’t expected to rise further.
As a writer, I think it’s important to get out there and breathe in a little of the world. Hopefully some of the vibrancy of nature comes across in my writing.
As for the tree outside our house that looked so spectacular last week, my son’s been reporting a leaf count each day of the remaining leaves.
Today three leaves remain.