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!

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