Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce. His son has got a scientific rain gauge and it had plenty of rain to measure this morning.
There had been rain overnight and it was still raining hard after breakfast so I went down to the river to see what was what.
It was a grey day!
There was plenty of water coming down the Wauchope but not as much as I expected..
…and there was remarkably little coming down the Esk which was still running grey compared with the brown water coming out of the swollen Wauchope.
I went home and got ready to receive a visit from our friend Sue who was going to brave the weather and come for lunch. She arrived safely, having negotiated some rather soggy patches on the way, and we had just finished lunch when our neighbour Jane came round to ask if we had seen what was happening to the dam that runs along the back wall of our house.
We went to have a look.
This was a surprise and not a very welcome one as the water was above the level of the ventilators in our side wall.
Sue thought that this might be a good moment to go home and she left. We were pleased to get a a phone call later on to confirm that she had arrived safely, only having to make one diversion where the main road to Brampton was flooded. She did well to leave when she did, as the main road south out of Langholm was blocked by a landslide shortly afterwards and was closed for several hours.
It was obvious that the sluice controlling the flow from the Wauchope into the dam was not closed and it was lucky that Jane was able to contact a man from the business that uses the water from the dam. He came with an engineer to see what could be done.
I went up to look at Pool Corner where our dam originates at a caul with the sluice. The caul couldn’t be seen at all and it was obvious that that the rain must have been very heavy in the catchment area for the Wauchope as it had risen a tremendous amount since I had checked earlier on.
The water was pounding round the corner and not just in the river…
…but along the road beside the river as well.
Looking at the flood wall which has the sluice in it, it was clear that the sluice was broken and not holding back the water at all. Several sandbags were lowered to see what would happen and they were swept through the sluice in a matter of seconds.
In the end a board was lowered and secured in place…
…and as unlikely as it looked, and in spite of continuously rushing waters…
…the work did the trick and the dam level went down.
You can see the water level on the wall of the house…
…and we were grateful to our neighbour Kenny who provided an old table and helped Mrs Tootlepedal to fix it as a protection to our back door when the flood was at its height.
It was a close run thing.
Kenny also paddled with me along the banks of the dam to the grid which stops rubbish getting swept into the culvert which takes the dam under our neighbouring streets, and he raked as much debris from the grid as he could.
When the water level had fallen, I went along again and cleared the grid again.
Luckily the heavy rain stopped while all this was going on and although it has rained again off and on, the levels have stayed well down and it is not due to rain heavily again until tomorrow afternoon. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the temporary board in front of the sluice will hold up.
It didn’t help that all this took place on a Saturday afternoon and there will quite a few phone calls to the owners of the dam on Monday morning.
A blackbird kept an eye on the comings and goings…
…and I noted the one cheerful item along the dam, this fuchsia which we passed on our way to clear out the grid.
It was a very warm and muggy day and when it stopped raining, the birds soon appeared in the garden. The sparrows stayed in pairs…
…but the blackbirds stood alone.
Flowers had survived…
…and looked surprisingly well…
..and there were even new flowers to be seen.
We kept a nervous eye and ear out for signs and sounds of more rain but as I write this, things are calm and the dam has stayed quiet. More rain is still forecast for tomorrow afternoon but we hope that it won’t fall in the same spot that it fell today.
The almost flying bird of the day is a blackbird taking a running jump rather than using its wings.