This morning, we went into Winchester for the regulation Sunday Walk With Grumpy Teens.
'Do we have to?' says a recumbent L, who was lying once more in his makeshift bed at the foot of ours. 'Only I have been ill, in case you had forgotten, and I haven't eaten properly for days and also M woke me up when he got up to let the dogs out this morning. He gets up very noisily.'
It is his bedroom, I point out. And besides, if we left you to your own devices you'd be sitting on your ars* slumped in front of the computer all day, and that isn't exactly healthy.
'Well, how long are we going to be then? And where are we going to park? And is it that walk by the river meadows, because I don't like that one.'
I pointed out that, taken as a whole, there are very few walks he does like. This time we were going to the Itchen that flows through Winchester to see the flooding there. So wear your wellies, I added, having experienced his idea of suitable footwear during yesterday's Flood Patrol, which was trainers, and they all too inevitably got soaked within three seconds, and then froze his feet, which he blamed me for, because obviously I have the power to a) force him into wellies when he refuses to wear them b) stop it raining and c) magic away floods.
'I don't like my wellies, which is why I didn't wear them yesterday. Can I wear my woofs instead?'
Well, says I, you can, but they may not be long enough and you may still end up with feet, and if you do we are continuing on.
Anyway, we arrived in Winchester to a Song Thrush singing in a Plane Tree, which I photographed. This activity unaccountably produced a small throng of people who gathered about me gazing up into the tree to see what it was I was taking a picture of. I thought this was Rather Strange, given that a few metres away there was Dramatic Flood Water flowing along the footpath.
Rounding the corner and appraising ourselves of the depth of the flood, L, who had been complaining that he'd worn his woof boots for no reason, suddenly went quiet, then, after sizing up the flow, began to complain he should have been wearing his wellies.
Eventually, he tippy-toed through the flood water (holding his jeans up around his knees), past the 'footpath closed' sign which a large number of people were also ignoring, and then proceeded to drench his feet in the deeper, faster flowing bits. Next J realised that her wellies had a hole in them for the second time (having forgotten that she'd realised this the last time we walked through a flood) and then F boisterously rushed through the flood, got water inside his wellies and ended up with wet feet as well. I, meanwhile, I hitched a piggy-back on M so was pretty much the only one whose feet remained dry.
The footpath was pretty much under water all the way, but it was nothing that a decent pair of wellies couldn't cope with, and the river itself was safely behind a fence so you couldn't mistake it for the path, fall in and drown.....
|Wouldn't fancy sitting on these at the moment....|
|It was quite a torrent sweeping down the path|
Reaching the other end of the river walk we found the exit barred off and an excited group of on-lookers taking pictures of the flood. They all stood back expectantly, waiting to see how we would negotiate the barricade. M lifted the kids over one by one and I hopped over athletically with poise and elegance (for once). I couldn't help but notice that the crowd looked disappointed at this, as if they'd wanted to see at least one of us fall on our ar*e.
We made a detour via primark to get L some crocs and defrost his numb feet, then went to Ginger Two for smoothies. On the way back to the car I got some shots of one of most favourite cities...
I had an email from Mrs M this morning. She has asked me to say a BIG THANK YOU for all your kind messages of concern when her house flooded. Unfortunately, the water has returned with a-vengeance this weekend and is now higher than ever inside. We badly need some dry weather to allow the levels to drop and places to dry out.
Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.