Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Norm on the march!

people faced up to half a mile walk over wet fields to get to parked cars and then had to carry food and provisions back.

the services

We had experience of 3 different services during the emergency - it is hard to define it as an emergency as no-ones live was seriously threatened, even crisis is a little overblown, maybe we will stick with "the Flood" and it is has to be said they were all excellent. We had the fire and rescue service for a number of days with 3 big pumps and the Environment Agency with 2 pumps and now more police patrols in one day than for a while - the fire service was bought in by a couple of phone calls by one of the more pro-active members of the village and the honcho who came down was impressed by the efforts of a small village to save itself and shocked that we were a little alone in the fight.

Due to his intervention we had firemen from Northampton, West Yorkshire and Gloucestershire manning the 3 pumps through day and night (heck, they might be working on 4 times overtime rates but we would still semi-stuck in the village if it was not for them) It is quiet without them already.

The police are already set a semi-permanent patrol but for how long we do not yet know. We shall see.

diary - the telegraph

the man from the Telegraph arrived with photographer in tow. We have the South west representative who is exactly what you would expect from a Telegraph man - well spoken and dressed with a certain style that says Telegraph man. Nice guy, says all the right things. We try to palm him off to the more interesting Springett story who found out about their house being flooded when they were in holiday in Vancouver/ Alaska (sorry, not sure abou tthe story!) Hopefully, they will use the Lords as their story but the photographer, good guy, seem enamoured with capturing us cleaning up the piano which is wrecked or sitting on the TV drinking a cup of tea that had not seen tea for at least a couple of days! The camera never lies ... it just tells a story! He tells the story of Kate from BBC TV standing in Gloucester giving it large about how disaster the flood was when there were 4 streets in Gloucester left with water. Ever the battle between the forms of media. Simple rule, there is no media truth.

think we are probably seen the last of the media. The interesting story is those who really suffer in the long run due to insurance company intransigence or other government bodies getting in the way!

flood debris

some of the debris from a standard house. Fridges, freezers, TVs, washing machines - a white good garage sale if they were not ruined. Fortunately, we are not one of the many have lost cars. 13 cars wrecked at last count!

a view from the churchyard

churchyard a few days after the worst of the flood. the wildlife loss increases as rabbits, hares, badgers, crows and thousands of worms (no fish seen strangely enough) are found all around the village

village during the flood

capture of the deerhurst floods. thanks to jonathon for use of photograph on this site, please go to www.webbaviation.co.uk for more info in ordering this or other flood pictures.


the leekes houses after the water has left the house. the garden became a thoroughfare for all sorts of 4 wheeled traffic during the day.

flood gates

to save the water flowing across the floodgate a whole lot of soil was put up against the gate so that we could raise the level the water rose to. Now it has to be removed.

Monday, 30 July 2007

tea cups in inappropiate places

at a certain time we had to admit defeat and tea cups were left behind.

water receding

Pumps - 3 of the high pressure pumps from the fire and rescue service. There are 46 in the country, 38 of them were at Walham saving the power station. The pipes can be moved out to 2 miles.

and they came from all over the country ...

Fireman with cricket club hats saving them from sunburn.


We are not asking for donations for flood banks or replacing goods - we think that is the duty of the local government, environment agency etc We are only 17 houses in the village. What we would appreciate is donations so that we can get down to the local pub (no insurance available) and have a great flood party! The Coal House Inn will not be open for another month so we are looking for a kitty so that all the survivors (one missing cat) can have a good time. Any left overs will go straight to the Red Cross Fund.

The donation button will take you through to paypal (the account is set up for Apperley Cricket Club but it will end up at the right place!)


in a trench left by a digger the amazing amount of worms can be seen. Is there going to be a worm shortage and will this affect Hally's fishing?

little red riding boot

if anyone has lost a little red wellie (now red and mucky brown) please get into contact.

the weekend with the Gloucestershire Echo

Think the media have returned back to London. We are yesterday's news! If you look closely at the photo you can a toothbrush stuck in the game (if not there was one there!)

wellington boots

home made flood bank with two wellington boots just on the inside of the flood bank! the irony is not lost on us.

another car goes

a smart car not looking so good.

pump delivery

one of 3 very high pressure pumps gets delivered to the Hurst. they pump incredible volumes out of the village basin and were bought in to the fire and rescue service post 9/11. Fire people have been excellent especially as they have been a long way from home. The fire guys, to the delight of certain ladies (won't mention Nicky! as she is married with 2 kids) almost outnumber the villagers at one stage. There was talk of doing a fireman calendar for flood relief fund but this was mainly from Nicky... (joking!)

Sunday, 29 July 2007


events as they happend to one little forgotten village - it is hard to say forgotten when the bishop of Gloucester, leader of her HM Opposition and the national head of the fire service have visited - are going to be added as we go along. We certainly know a lot more than we did before.

the story so far:

Friday: it rains, merde il pleut! and then it rains some more. The road begins to flood and cars struggle to get in and out of the village.

Saturday: not good but not awful, River creeping up but immediate danger is not truly apparent. We are a little lost in a semi-smug understanding that the village's defenses have held before and that are house and the majority of houses have not been flooded since 1947. This is summer FGS!

Sunday: 8:00 - 12' Oh shit! The call goes out to help. The village is set in a basin where we have floodgates for protection and interior floodbanks to ensure the days of 1947 are never re-enacted. There were 4 or 5 battlegrounds in "operation canute" and in the end we won 3 or 4 of them but ending up losing the war.

1: protect the flood gates. The water has flown in during the night and are reaching near the top of new floodgates (2 provided at the cost of 25K yet they seat below the level of the existing itnerior floodbanks - problem 1) The local farmer and star of the days is soon on the blower sorting JCB and qualified driver - soil is ripped up and placed behind the flood gates to protect what looks like a very worrying bow in the gate (problem 2: would the gate have withstood the pressure? we were not waiting to find out!) the soil is built up and the local builder adds an old stank (a board of wood) to the height of the gate.

2: protect the other floodgate by the river. One house is already under water! I wander in to see if anyone is in there or anything can be saved. Nope! the water line is a lot lower on this floodgate than the other so attention is shifted elsewhere.

3: road out of the village. JCB and Diggers congregate. Farmer rips out trees in copse and adds good soil to banks and build a damn across the road. Ignore this, seems to be under control, though who if anyone is controlling our movements is less clear. (problem 3: Firefighting without clear direction is a recipe for disaster and so it proved!)

4: floodbank over side of the church - Farmer no 2 with JCB takes on adding to the floodbanks. can only use soil that is available (problem 4: wrong type of soil on"our" flood banks!)

12 o'shit: lunch, very very wet. Empty boots and add to flood problem. Try to find out information on when the water is going to peak - different reports from all different sources. some say 12, some say 2 some say not until 8 (problem 5: do not phone up environmental agency to find out accurate information)

12 o'shit - 2 o'think we are OK- maybe get out of the village and get up to the cricket club. very important petanque day. digging along flood banks to raise by a few inches, heavy machine elsewhere, to stop the seepage over the banks. This is Ok if the rise of the river stops but heck it keeps going. 40r 5 people are fighting in the churchyard building dams either side of the road to stop more water coming into the village.

2-5 o'this is not good but think we might survive! the river keeps rising. don't know up the road, our battle is still based on the churchyard (trailer getting stuck) and the inner flood banks near the house. Towards the end of this the big machines come - they destroy a garden to get through the gates and do in a hour what would take loads of us days. Machines can not get to certain parts of the bank so the old spade and shovel are still needed. The occasional food and drink arrives but the full scale is not yet apparent to what is going to hit us.

5-ish pit stop: check golf, 6 people in it. Back out - meet farmer 1 who says that whatever you can get upstairs to safety do so. This is big wake up call. What has he seen or heard that I have not? Don't stop to think ... We are winning our little war and continue to fight on.

7 -ish: speak to farmer 2, understatedly offers the opinion that we need more labour and the out road was looking ...

8 0'we are f***ed - wander up to the man made dam on the road and past serious breaches of flood defences. Time to get furniture upstairs etc

11 0' so tired now. Fall asleep as other people are still taking boat rides to house to try and safe personal belongings. Maybe just maybe it won't reach us when we wake up! nice to padraig win the Open though.

6:30 a.m. Monday - we are now Deerhurst-On-Severn!

flood solutions

we will be putting our ideas for potential flood solutions to our specific issue.

1) raise the banks by 2 to 3 feet all the way round the inner river bank. We would feel safe if they do that. Heck, if it got over 3 feet more then Gloucester really better watch out.
2) have a flood gate up the road that had the dam that bust - an adjoiner to point 1. Alternatively, take the flood bank further up Barn Road.
3) dredge the river to increase the flow of water - the silt that has built up is amazing. A local fishing guy reckons the central low point of the river is about 2 foot higher than it was 10 years ago. The cost of this has been seen to be prohibitive though it seems that it has been done in the past.

the process of change is starting - we have had a recent visit from the Environment Agency who asked the right questions but is a huge doubt if they allow us to raise the flood bank as the possible effect on the flood level of Gloucester. If there is a problem then dig out the land that covers the required space that you would have if the water gets over the flood defences. If you do the basic math the level raise is positively miniscule and it would save lets say £.5 million (average houselhold claim is £30k apparently) that insurance companies will be paying out to this small village alone. If an insurance guy reads this, please get in contact with the environment agency!

Progress is never easy or quick and boxes have to be ticked and sub-committees have to be formed. Fine as long as the right people are on the sub-committee! Do not expect immediate change soon to be honest. The simplest methodology is that we price up the work required, get the money and then just do it!

One useful web-site for which you are not alone is: www.floodforums.co.uk. Basically it is common sense advice on what needs to be done when faced with floods.


Saturday or is it Sunday - hours, days and weeks seem to merge into one. The insurance assessor or as someone calls him, the lost adjuster, visits. A slightly incongruous sight of man in suit and wellington boots striding across the fields tells us this man means business. He is sensible and calm and gives us news that we were expecting and a timeframe which is not based on the kind of normal times that is quite disturbing. 40 case notes need to be typed up and sent back, this guy is going to be busy as is all the local builders, chippies etc The bun fight for local surveyors and all the necessary people is going to be interesting.

1) clean up - Disaster Care will come, but do not know when yet. They will tell you what is savable and what the value of your property is. OK, less for us to do but the smell has to be got rid of so can keep blog up to date instead of cutting up carpets and chucking out sofas.
2) dry up - how long? who knows! being a timber framed building it is hard to know until listed buildings come and visit
3) re-build - how long? can you get builders in? need a surveyor in, but as a listed building there are other areas of concern to look at.

The assessor is sound but am sure that he has had plenty of practice.

Time: 6-9 months and his word is get out of the house ASAP and move out all the decent furniture from upstairs into storage. There is something very final being given such a timeframe from someone in the know.

The flood is the easy bit. It is the year after the flood that looks like being tricky.

The Minstrels under water

Don't think the hammock will be used for a while!

norm's house

Norm's House - the Norlands could not stop the tide. In the War Flood of 2007 not only lost his household possessions but also his hammer adding height to the floodgate.

rescue came from unlikely sources

a man with a bottle comes to save the day!

play it sam, you played it for her ...

the last play of the stricken piano

a man points at a tree

a copse was wrecked so machinery could add to the flood bank - unfortunately it was not enough

£ 5 ono for fiesta one lady driver

a car transported about 300 yards by the force of the flood

pumping action

environment agency twin pumps taking out the water from the village

Saturday, 28 July 2007

after the flood has receded

sofa raised up, not raised up far enough! fireplace under water - thank god it was not winter else ...


fire rescue

fire rescue boats to the rescue. Norm, Jan and the redoubtable Larry (who seems to follow the floods but did not manage to finish the Whiskey!) escape from the Norlands on the boat.

inside the forge

ouch! the water is just out and the clean up is just about to begin

the forge under water

Brad's house under water

outside Brad's house - the level is slowly dropping as can be seen by the difference between the green and the brown of the hedge.

road cone

a road cone is always found wherever you go.

kayaker brings provisions

a kayaker (Jo Warner) on her erstwhile lawn. she delivered supplies to her parents who stayed in the house throughout the flood.

sunken kayak

even a kayak could not guarantee that you could get where you wanted to be

to Oddas Chapel ...

signs to be seen to Deerhurst Church and Oddas Chapel and the upturned kayak!

no through road

access to scuba men and boats only

the things you do to try and save the village

an unfortunate corollary of the building our own flood barriers in the churchyard was the collpase of the full trailer through the sooden earth. We believe the graves lay away from the headstone.

lager, lager, lager ...

a bottle of lager sits unfinished over the Odda's Chapel sign on the entrance to Deerhurst Church

Village Before

This is the village a month or so before the great flood of 2007 as I am sure as it will be now be known forever more with Deerhurst Church and Odda's Chapel to the fore. Odda was around not long after King Canute and we all know what happened to him!

Flooding Blog

This is a flooding blog for anyone who wishes to know what is happening in a flooded zone. It should be a short lived blog but we will keep it going to record the after affects of the flood. Everybody has seen the pictures of a flood, but not everyone gets to read about what is left behind (and sure not many people are that interested)

If you wish to use the photos on this blog please get in contact with rowan6.floodingblog@blogger.com, we are looking to get as a complete evidence of the flood as possible so photos and peoples thoughts are more than welcome.

If you would like to hear about Deerhurst Floods from yesteryear try following this link (interview took place in 1955) http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/personalisation/object.cfm?uid=021SED00C908S61U00010C01