Friday, 14 February 2014

Waterlogged

Rather aptly, a few weeks ago, I started reading Tales from the Ark to my son at bedtime. It turned out to be a fictional prelude to the floods that have beset our little British isle. Thanks to the Old Testament, the phenomenon of flooding still has biblical overtones (for some residents of Henley-on-Thames more so than others). Nowadays, rather than hunkering down in our wooden ark, we take a more combative approach with sandbags, barriers and pumps. As the Atlantic storms buffet our shores, it has become a contest: the human species versus the global weather system.

Living in Henley-on-Thames, I know a few friends and family who have watched the river break its banks and consume their gardens and homes with inexorable ease. Tales abound of heroic rescuesgood deeds by neighbours, travel chaos and the evacuation of dogs (and even llamas) from waterlogged ground. Only today a friend told me how her husband had saved someone's new kitchen from watery oblivion by helping to divert some of the flood water in the village of Shiplake. It was celebratory cups of coffee all round!

For all the disruption and misery, however, there remains something oddly compelling about a landscape transformed into a waterscape. Our local bookseller, Jonkers, recently coined a new name for our aqueous town: Henley-in-Thames. Here are a few pictures of the flood, post Noah, circa 2014:



Flooded Regatta course in Henley on Thames
The famous Regatta course expands widthwise

Henley-on-Thames in the floods
A road fit for boats

Thameside flooded, Henley on Thames
Thameside flooding leads to traffic misery in the town

Flooded streets in Henley on Thames
A residential road becomes a canal

Flooded cricket pitch in Henley on Thames
Once a cricket pitch, now a lake


Mermaid in the river in Henley-on-Thames
The stone mermaid (right) is in her element 




Click to see pictures of the 2013 flood in Henley-on-Thames


If you would like to donate clothes, blankets or toys to children affected by the floods, you can contact the local charity First Days.