Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Port Meadow Flood

A police officer knocked on my door. Persistant rain has caused the ground water levels to rise, and the Thames/Isis has turned Port Meadow into a bog. Her flyer gave a floodline website and phone number (0111222 in Oxford) and instructions to pack a “flood kit” for emergency evacuation, including such items as wellington boots and a torch (rain boots and flashlight in American.)

Our neighbor had already gone to pick up the government-provided sand bags.

This neighbor just had milk and firewood. A farmer delivers fresh dairy milk in refillable glass bottles. Most people aren’t panicking since our road was fine in the epic July floods. Wolvercote, despite being low, is surrounded by wetlands so homes are well protected. Other overdeveloped neighborhoods weren’t so lucky. Being green makes good sense.

The horses out on Port Meadow knew to gallop to higher ground. The ponies had already been collected. Owners fed their horses as there was little dry grass for grazing. The older horses led the herd to the safe areas.

Big water dogs and young boys were having a blast, but the little dogs weren’t quite convinced. I wished for waders, but these lads didn’t mind the water spilling down the top of their wellies.

The hardy lads made it the top of the picnic table to the consternation of the geese.
My dog knew how to dry off after more of a swim than a walk.

Not a good day for the Wolvercote Common/Port Meadow car park.

This one had the right idea. It’s exactly what folks would have done in Maine.

Going to the pub for a pint, however, was quite British. Nobody seemed to mind that the raging river was only kept back by the ancient wall. The Trout dates back centuries, so it should survive this latest deluge. The deep frost in Port Meadow seems so long ago.


Anonymous said...

Great photos! According to legend, King Henry II met his mistress Rosamund the Fair at The Trout some time in the 12th Century, but his wife found out and Rosamund got herself to a nunnery at Godstow Abbey just over the bridge.

Sarah Laurence said...

How interesting. I should check out the Abbey ruins. “Get thee to a nunnery?”

Charlotte Agell said...

Frizzling (from the London exerpts) is a great portmanteau...freezing drizzle!
Such lovely photos of a floods. I understand that floods are the most deadly natural disaster (but what comes to mind is Bangladesh, not Port Meadow). Here's hoping the waters subside!

Sarah Laurence said...

Rest assured. The sun finally came out today, and the waters are receding. Just in time as I was hearing that Johnny Cash song Five Feet High and Rising. Did I just link to! Guess you do become more American when living abroad.