Wednesday, 25 July 2007

"Deep River" - American spiritual (year unknown)

Many of have probably read or heard that parts of England are suffering from really terrible flooding. We got an enormous amount of rain in Central and parts of Southeast England last Friday, Oxfordshire included. Flooding from various rivers has had devastating effects. Worst hit have been parts of Gloucestershire, although conditions are getting worse now in Oxfordshire as well.

For those who are concerned, John and I are absolutely fine. Apart from some water on our patio (which drained quickly when the rain slowed down), we had no problems at all. One of the advantages of living in our North Oxfordshire village is that it's on very high ground.

But starting during the night Sunday, the city of Oxford began having some serious problems. The rivers Cherwell and Thames (the latter called the Isis as it flows through Oxford) were both sending water through the city at a furious pace. And the office where I work isn't far from the Thames.

Our office was open on Monday morning but closed about midday, for fear the Thames might overflow. We were closed completely yesterday. The Thames was supposed to crest yesterday. It didn't. We reopened the office today but left mid-afternoon, because all of the road closures in the area (west and south of the office) are making "commuting" difficult.

So while the Thames hasn't affected us yet, it still could -- especially since the forecast for the coming days is for even more rain.

I thought I'd share a few photos for Lord Celery's readers...and, as usual, you can click on any of them for a full-sized version. These were all taken today.

As I walked toward our office on St Aldates this morning, I could see that the road ahead was closed. The closure is at Folly Bridge, which is over the Thames. Once the road goes south over the bridge, it turns into Abingdon Road. There is a lot of flooding along the road...and in the town of Abingdon as well.

The Head of the River pub, on the northeast end of Folly Bridge.

Here's the river, next to the Head of the River's property. That's the highest I've ever seen the Thames in this location, and it's flowing so fast it almost looks wild.

Looking west down the river from Folly Bridge.

Another view of the river. From this shot, maybe you can get a better idea of the swift movement of the water. (This and the next photo were taken today by my office colleague Richard. Thanks, Richard!)

And Richard took this great photo of the Folly Bridge from the towpath along the river. The water is very high, as you can see.

That's our office building in the left center of the photo...a photo taken from the north end of Folly Bridge. You're looking north up St Aldates. You can see how close we are to the river, in the event it were to overflow its banks. And for those of you who know Oxford, that's the tower of Christ Church up St Aldates in the distance.

Meanwhile, on my way home this afternoon, I pulled off the A4260 at the Jolly Boatman pub, just north of the village of Kidlington, to see what the Oxford Canal looked like upstream of Oxford. Although higher than normal, it's not at threatening levels at all.

As viewed from the little pedestrian bridge, shown in the previous photo, here's a view of the canal looking north. The pub is on the left.

And here's the view south (toward Kidlington and Oxford) from the same bridge. You can see narrowboats moored all along the banks of the canal.

If any of you would like to follow this story, there are two good sources of information on the web -- The Oxford Mail and BBC Oxford.
Meanwhile, please send good thoughts to those whose lives have been so badly affected since last Friday.



At 25 July, 2007 22:06 , Anonymous M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

Thanks for posting. Every time I've seen photos of the south, I wondered how you were doing. The flooding looks devastating--and it must be so since American TV actually had some coverage. (And you know how little international news we get here.)

AJM and I were wondering what parts of Oxford would be worst hit if the Thames did overflow.

At 26 July, 2007 14:47 , Blogger Milky Bar Kid said...

Thanks for your update of the situation. We are pleased to read that you are still ok there. It's so awfull to see people's homes flooded and ruined and all because of water. I am told the army have now taken over the delivery of water to the people affected in all the affected areas.


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