Fishing for …

October 16, 2012

Well, thank you for all your lovely responses to yesterday’s cri du coeur – I hadn’t meant it to come across as quite such an open plea for compliments* but I’m grateful all the same. Especially today, which dawned dreich enough to keep me off the bike all morning (and then cleared up just as I’d finally given in & sent the other half down for the paper leaving me not only bike-rideless but faintly guilty at being such a wimp unnecessarily). On the plus side, a morning’s worth of rain combined with a summer’s worth of hedgerow growth blocking the drains meant that I had an opportunity this afternoon to work out my frustration by Poking Things With a Stick, followed by the satisfying gurgle when the flood water began to clear. Of such small satisfactions is a fulfilled life made, as nobody once said.

Oh, and I have found my camera. It was in my bag. For the last three months…

*oh all right then…


December 10, 2011

We were disturbed yesterday morning by a woman knocking at our door to tell us that, having driven her car through the flood on the road outside with some difficulty, Something Must Be Done and that we should be the Ones to Do It.

‘You need to make some sort of a sign to warn people’, she said and the other half, who was the one who had opened the door, was too polite to point out that he thought that the sign of several yards of water lapping up against the dykes on either side might have been clue enough that this was more than any ordinary puddle. But no, she was insistent on this point, a sign there should be, and we should be the ones to make it, and she walked off back to the car with the air of someone who had Done Something while the other half went back to making home-made Hobnobs completely untroubled by any intention of Doing Anything at all.

I’m not made of such stern stuff, however, and I did toy with ringing the council again but if the news of the storm was anything to go by they probably had bigger fish to fry (possibly literally). I didn’t share her belief in the power of signs, except perhaps if there were enough of them that drivers could use them build some sort of a pontoon bridge across the floods, but I do hold great faith in the power of Poking Things With A Stick so I got my wellies on and our special poking stick out of the shed and went to have a look.

The first problem was that the flood was almost at welly depth, especially where the drainage points were, and the drains on one side were almost completely overwhelmed. On the field side, where the drains are just culverts into a field, it was impossible to see where they were for the water was over the bank and it was only by looking over the wall to see the outlets that I could find which bit to poke. Having oriented myself, I gave a couple of half-hearted jabs around where the drains might be and then a bit of a shoogle and then – glory be – there was an enormous gurgling noise and the blockage cleared and the water started pouring through the culvert into the field. An hour or so later and the road was all but clear except for some mud, a hubcap and a couple of numberplates detached from cars who had taken the water at speed. I couldn’t help but feel a little pride that I had Done Something – and must therefore be Somebody after all.

And that, hopefully, will be the last of the flood posts. Until next week, anyway…

Cattle in the Mist

October 27, 2011

There was a moment yesterday morning when the sun struggled through and the whole countryside started to steam gently

Since then we’ve had nothing but rain, interspersed with heavy showers. A break in one of the latter has at least given me a chance to have a go at one of my favourite post-wet-weather activities, de-flooding the road outside the house. It takes a surprisingly small amount of leaves to completely block up the storm drains, turning the road into a minor canal. Fortunately this means that only a small amount of poking about with a stick very quickly clears the blockage with a very satisfactory gurgling sound and within half an hour the road is back to road (albeit wet road) and I can feel like I’ve done my bit.

If only everything was as easy and as satisfying to sort out, Mr Cameron and his big society would be onto something. Sadly, there are very few other problems that can be resolved by poking them with a stick, whatever the more disciplinarian wing of the Tory party might believe.

Another One that Got Away

November 2, 2009

Things you expect to see in a field: sheep, cows, a farmer, grass …

Things you don’t expect to see in a field:

A large fish. A brown trout, to be precise.

Some context may be helpful here. It had started raining last evening, it had rained more or less all night, and all morning and it was still raining, albeit more lightly. Having been stuck in the house for most of this, I was out with a stick poking at the drains to clear the flooding on the road, which is my new favourite hobby (it’s the giant slurping plughole noise, I think). Having just cleared out the worst of the blockages, I looked into the field on the downhill side of the road and saw the fish.

My second thought (my first thought was ‘must blog this’) was to get someone else to come and see. The other half was out – and very miffed when he got back to discover that he could have had trout instead of leek and cheese pie for his supper – so I went up to the big house to get our landlady. She instantly recognised it as one of her fish (well, you would, wouldn’t you) escaped from the ponds in the grounds and which had presumably been swimming around happily in the road* until I came along with my interfering town ways. We got a bucket and scooped up Barry (the Brown Trout), as I shall not be naming him, and returned him to the pond with a cry of ‘be free, Barry, be free!’ whereupon he lay on his side gasping pathetically. It was never like this on Flipper, I tell you. I waded out and pushed him free of the weed and into deeper water and after a while he righted himself and swam away to our relief. Sadly, Barry, shall now probably be hooked out of the pond at the earliest opportunity by the son of the house – country folk haven’t a sentimental bone in their bodies – but I will have done my best.

Anyway, what with the airborne slugs, and land-based fish, it’s probably lucking we’re heading east for a week now. Lord knows what tomorrow would have had in store…

*Imagine explaining that one to the fishing police if you’d run it over…

Welcome Home

August 20, 2009


It’s been raining, pretty much, since I got off the train yesterday and stepped into the half-inch of water that was pooled on the platform below the steps. The Met Office has issued a flood warning that covers the rivers of the entire county. So when the rain did finally stop after lunch today, there was really only one thing we could do.
Or rather, two. Because having wellied up, we first had to go and clear out the drains along our section of the road which had formed an impromptu ford of its own. This always involves much enjoyable poking about with sticks and a very satisfying plug-coming-out-of-the-bath noise when the blockage finally clears. It’s almost – but not quite – worth putting up with 24 hours of torrential downpours. It’s also much, much better if your wellies don’t develop a leak in the process, as I found to my cost half way through.
Then, our civic duty done, we went to check the level on the ford.
I think it’s a little higher than our previous record attempt, but the other half’s not so sure, and he’s the final arbiter in these matters.
Either way, I wouldn’t drive over it

And now it’s raining again…

This wasn’t Just a Puddle…

October 27, 2008

…it was a junior lake which had escaped from the flooded fields on either side and stretched a good hundred yards and more along the road. Going out it wasn’t too bad because I had enough momentum from the hill to sail through it with my feet off the pedals and out of the way of the ensuing bow wave, but coming back was another matter. I hadn’t the space to get up enough speed to get through without pedalling at some point, and the water was well over pedal depth in places. All I could do was coast for as long as I could and then, in the shallower bits where I could see the surface of the road through the water, pedal like mad.

I’ve seen the odd person – usually a farmer type – cycling in wellies around here. I’m beginning understand why…