Friday, 7 February 2014

Romsey Floods, The Pigs & Lapwings Enjoy The Mud and Our Robin Sings In The Garden

I had a text at 6.30 this morning from my friend Mrs M who lives in Romsey, to say that the Greatbridge Road into town was flooded near the river and that they'd been out since 3am putting sandbags round their property.

I went down there mid-morning to see if there was anything I could do to help, and found their back garden under several inches of water. It was a real shock to see it that way- we've spent many happy evenings eating and drinking in that garden over the years and have never seen it like that before. 
Luckily, as of this moment, their house hasn't flooded, but the neighbouring properties all have and the water is still rising. They had managed to get hold of a decent pump (the last one in the shop) at 9am and were setting it up when I arrived. They'd moved anything important upstairs and are just praying that the water doesn't rise too much further and that the pump can keep it at bay.

We had 30mm of rain last night (according to my resident meteorologist - I sometimes feel he has missed his calling) and although the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day today, another storm is forecast tonight with more rain to come over the weekend, which isn't great news.

None of us has ever seen it like this before. En route to Mrs M's, I stopped off at a few other places round town where the water had risen and flooded the roads. It was pretty hairy in places and it's only because I know Romsey well that I was able to avoid getting stuck. Queues were forming all round town and it had that eerie feeling you get when you're in the middle of an emergency.

This is the view at the bottom of Fishlake Meadow's Road which leads on to Greatbridge. This is where the worst of the flooding is and no cars at all were even attempting to get through it.



I'd come prepared and was wearing wellies (remember the expensive ones from the Spring? They've been far too hot to wear all summer, making me gulp at wasting a fortune on them, but they have really come into their own this winter- no extra pairs of socks required and no cold feet either, hooray), but it was still too deep to walk through. On the other side of the road the water meadows are doing their job well, but even they are at the highest I've ever seen them, and it won't be long before they spill out onto the road as well....


I managed to park the car in town and walked down to Mrs M's. This was what I found when I got there....
Mr and Mrs M's garden, under several inches of water. The property over the fence behind them is sitting in a lake with no discernible evidence of a garden being present at all and the water has come into their house, poor souls.



They managed to buy the last available pump at 9 o'clock this morning and were setting it up when I arrived.
The pump was letting the water out in the road out front, which was already under several inches of water
This was the scene out front, with sandbags lining the drives and doorways of the houses opposite. The thing you can see that looks like a river abutting the sandbags is, in fact, the road....




We couldn't believe cars will still coming through. They were creating enormous bow waves, which wasn't helping the flood-risk to the properties. Really, the road should have been closed.

This is the pavement, lurking somewhere beneath several inches of water

Lorries and vans driving through the floods

The road out the front of Mr and Mrs M's house.

Mrs M heading off to find some mesh to protect the pump
Out on the main road, things weren't much better... I'd got stuck in this earlier and did a uey in the road to find a different way in to town. On the way into college yesterday I drove through a flood that was part an extension of a ford that crosses a lane. It had spilled out onto the main road and the water was between 2-3 feet deep according to the pole that was on the side of the road. It was only when I was half-way through it that I realised quite how bad it was. The car coped OK thank goodness, but I came the long way home just to be sure.

Greatbridge Road, Romsey.


 

Submerged pedestrian crossing

Greatbridge Road again, looking more like a river.



This view of the land around Romsey (taken this morning from Green Hill) illustrates just how much water there is lying on the surface. The ground is so saturated there is no-where left for it to go....




You can just about see the river meandering through the middle of the flood water. In some places in Romsey the river has burst its banks entirely and has merged with the surrounding farm land, making a giant inland sea of water which is covered with flocks of seabirds, Southampton and the real sea being a matter of 8 miles away as the crow flies.

Romsey Abbey, which lies just to the right of the flooded meadows in the photos above.

If you look carefully you can see the water lying in a great lake behind the trees - bottom right


Back at home and I have never felt so grateful that we live half-way up a hill. The small gate out front is flooded because the stream that runs along our hedge has breached its banks and overflowed, and the drainage pipe the runs under our drive (which is, frankly, piddly anyway and therefore not up to the job at all, and frequently has histrionics when there's rain), can't cope with all the water that we've had and so there is a small river running down the lane, and I did have to open the storm drain out back yesterday because the patio was filling up with water, but once it was open it drained away. Apart from that we are (at the moment) OK.


Apart from wanting to check that my dear friend was alright, I also wanted to get some pictures of the Lapwing flock that has been out on the pig fields in recent days. I estimate there are upwards of 50 birds in this flock (probably more), and as we were doing bird IDs yesterday at college and I mentioned them, I have since learnt that lapwings are not to be found as frequently as they once were, so I was doubly determined to get some photos of these chaps. I couldn't get all that close, but hopefully you can see what they are nevertheless!




They are particularly drawn to the muddy pig fields, probably as a food source. The girls didn't seem to mind their flying friends whooshing up, pee-witting (their country name is peewit for the call they make) and settling back down again with them while I snapped away...







This Cedar tree is something of a landmark for me. It's the only one around and I always look for it when I'm driving past. I think it is very beautiful.



When I got home, the dogs and I had a walk round the garden and our lovely little Robin appeared from nowhere, settled in the apple tree and had a good old sing-song. He is very obliging about photos and usually allows me to get right up close while he sings. I thought you might appreciate these pics, to cheer us all through what looks set to be another wet weekend....







I'll leave you with a pic of those two doggy people in the garden. When I got home from college yesterday, Pops had done a wee on the carpet that looked exactly like a dinosaur talking to a snake. I wish I'd taken a picture of it....



If you have a moment to send some positive thinking the way of Mr and Mrs M over the weekend, as they battle the rising waters around their home, that would be much appreciated. And also for my friend Sally, who was flooded out of her home on Christmas Eve, had just had the go-ahead that it had dried out enough to let her move back in, when the waters rose again on Tuesday and she was flooded for the second time. A foot of water all through her house.

Keep safe all,

CT x

26 comments:

  1. It's all just horrendous. Your poor friends! On a positive note, the Robin is stunning. Hills are good. x

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    1. Keeping everything crossed for them. Thank goodness for a blue sky day today, to remind us there is such a thing.... xx

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  2. It is horrendous. My heart goes out to all those who have been flooded. It's still the wind that is frightening me the most, Saturday night is going to be very stormy indeed. I'd rather the high winds came during the day then at least we can see what's happening. Feeling a bit vulnerable with all the trees..

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    1. I'll keep everything crossed for you too, Jess. Hopefully, we've had so much wind and rain already that what's going to come down already has x

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  3. Oh it's so terrible for everyone, I can't imagine the stress they must be under. Great pics of the flooding especially the pigs looking very happy and the lapwings-I do love the noise they make. Love the Robin, it really has let you get so close.

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    1. Those pigs were ecstatic in all that mud! Funny things... I loved seeing all the lapwings- they've been there about a week and I've been meaning to get the camera out for them. The flooding is really dramatic.

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  4. Wow! That is some flooding. The robin is lovely. Ours don't show up until spring which seems very far away.

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    1. Do they look the same? Robins are here with us all the time- I'd really miss them if they weren't.

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  5. The floods look really bad in Romsey and I do hope that your friends` house stays dry over the next few days. Their raised brick path seemed to be acting as a sea wall and keeping the flood at bay.

    Interesting to see how the Normans cleverly built their Abbey well up on high ground and away from the river.

    Wonderful to see a flock of lapwing again! That was a common site back in the sixties, but now they usually come just in pairs or small groups. The first name I knew for them was Peewit.

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    1. Hope you've been OK in the forest with all the rain?

      The Abbey is on a much older Saxon site, with hints that it was a site sacred to the ancient Britons before that- either way, they paid more heed to the landscape when building things that we seem to these days!

      I hadn't realised until talking to our lecturer on Thurs that a flock of lapwings is no longer a common sight- we are so lucky to have them here. It was wonderful to watch them all flying and twisting and swooping and landing and pee-witting all together. I love their country name too- it was the first one I knew them by as well. When someone called them lapwings I wondered what on earth they were on about!

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  6. Mr and Mrs M definitely have my positive thoughts sent over many miles! How awful for them and their neighbors, and how good of you to help them out.

    I love your robin. He's adorable and indeed photogenic. And yes, the cedar is wonderful. I love them, and we have many here in Oregon. :)

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    1. Thank you Mary, you are a dear. I will pass it on :-)

      Lucky you re the Cedars in Oregon- such majestic trees. We don't see all that many here, except in parks.

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  7. I do so hope that your friends house is ok and that they manage to keep the water out. We live on a hill, but the fields around us are all flooded and look like lakes and they are so deep that the livestock has all had to be moved out and the water birds are using them like lakes. Several of our exits from our village are now blocked with flood water and we have to go a long way round to go anywhere, so I know a little how horrid this awful water can be. Your bird photos are beautiful, especially the robin! xx

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    1. It's not looking good here Amy. The river was due to burst its banks this morning on the other side of town.
      I suspect most places have now been affected one way or the other by this rising water. Hills have suddenly become my new best friends! x

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  8. The floods in Romsey look horrendous :( I'm sending as many positive thoughts as I can to your friends. What a horrendous situation to be in.

    I'm very relieved too that we live half way up a hill!!! Take care on the flooded roads CT my husband managed to write off his car last autumn driving through one although I think the main problem was caused by another vehicle coming through from the other direction at top speed and causing a huge bow wave :(

    Love the robin photos.

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    1. I've never seen it like this before- there is water everywhere on the Northern side of town, flooding down across the fields and onto the roads. I've got some new pictures today which I'll put up later.
      Very glad you live on a hill too! Is the flooding bad where you are? M thought north of the M4 might not be so bad? How horrid about the car- people drive far too fast through floods :-(

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  9. I feel so sorry for your poor friends. What a horrible shock for them. I wish the end of these storms was in sight - but they just seem to be coming over in waves.
    The lapwings are lovely. We had a flock behind us in the autumn and every year I see a pair trying to nest in the fields, but they never have any luck. And the robin is gorgeous. They really are singing their hearts out at the moment.

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    1. And more rain forecast over the weekend and into next week. You start to wonder whether it will ever stop. One small positive note is that the aquifers here have filled back to the level they were at 3 years ago- no comfort at all for those whose homes have been flooded, I know.
      I wonder why your lapwings don't nest successfully? Hopefully this year may be different. They are such unusual looking birds. We saw the Robins courting this morning so hopefully baby Robins before long :-)

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  10. HI CT These are horrendous photos of the flooding. I have been watching it on the TV getting worse and worse for some communities. Sorry to hear about your fiends home and I hope we will have seen the last of this terrible rain. Love your robin shots an LApwings

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    1. And it's worse today sadly. More rain and the rivers are bursting their banks here :-(
      At least the birds are OK in the trees.

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  11. Positive thoughts from me too - I was directed here by Dartford Warbler, but I see several of my friends also visit regularly! I know Romsey well, as mum was born there in the 1920s and her parents were shopkeepers in the Hundred. I still have Aged Aunties and offspring living in the town. Fortunately the AA's are Cupernham side so hopefully above the water.

    It looks dreadful - and set to get worse before it gets better by the way the weather is chucking it down here (in West Wales). Like Ragged Robin, I'm glad we live half way up a steep hill as we have a river at the bottom of it (currently in spate).

    Lovely to say hello anyway, and I shall visit again. It was lovely to see photos of the Romsey I remember.

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    1. Hi and thanks for the follow :-)

      Yes, as far as I know Cupernham is fine, being that bit higher. We also have friends living there so keeping fingers crossed they will be OK. Water much worse today and our friend's house is now flooded. Very upsetting. Just hoping it starts to settle down a bit soon x

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  12. P.S. I can remember huge flocks of Peewits (as we knew them) on farmland along Portsmouth Road in Southampton when I was a kid. As you say, they are all too rare nowadays. Beautiful birds.

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    1. I've been so pleased to see them, and all the more so since realising it's not a common sight :-)

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  13. I do hope your friends are okay and the flooding hasn't got worse? More rain forecast is not what we want to hear is it :( Gorgeous robin images - love the blue contrasting his lovely red breast! Those piggywigs look happy :)

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    1. Hi Lou :-)

      I know you've now caught up on the after effects of the water. Poor Mr and Mrs M. Hopefully it won't be long before it all drains away.

      Glad u enjoyed bird pics x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x