Posts Tagged ‘Floods’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He took refuge from some foul weather by visiting the museum in Derby where he came across a fine representation of Athenian democracy crafted out of LEGO.

Derby lego parliament

After yesterday’s excitement, we were hoping for a less interesting day today and as far as the weather went, we got one.  Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that it had stopped raining, just that it had stopped raining so hard.  In fact it rained more or less the whole day but luckily it was quite gentle for a lot of the time.

After church, which was quite jolly with some good singing hymns and an interesting address from my cello playing friend, Mike, I went up to check on the ad hoc repair to the sluice at Pool Corner.

In spite of the continuing rain, water levels had dropped a lot and it was good to see the board still in place.

sluice protector am

Looking into the main course of the Wauchope, I could see a couple of trees which had come over the caul yesterday, giving some idea of the force of the water.

tree over the caul Pool Cormer

I cycled home and was impressed by the sheer cheek of a sunflower which thought that this was a good moment to show some yellow sun.

sunflower in the rain

I walked round the garden in the drizzle.

wet poppy

The new lilies are standing up to the rain pretty well.

wet lily

As always on a wet day, there are opportunities for the bored photographer.

web with droplets

I took two of them.

web with droplets 2

At one point we did think of going for a walk to visit the landslide on the main road out of town, but just as we were getting ready to go, the rain started to come down more heavily so we gave up the idea and settled down to do harmless indoor tasks instead.

Every now and again, we checked the level of the dam.  It stayed calm.

I put a parish magazine from 1968 on to our Archive Group web pages.  Sandy had scanned and digitised it so it wasn’t a difficult task.

We watched athletics from Poland on the telly and were pleased to see that it was a perfectly lovely day there….well fairly pleased.

From time time to time, I looked out of the door into the garden to see if it was still raining.

It was.

wet blackbird

There were still plenty of birds popping about though.

bird on plum tree

I hope that the birds don’t get the wrong idea and start pecking at our plums.

sparrow in plum tree

In the early evening, I went up to have another look at Pool Corner.  The waters had risen but the board was still holding.

sluice protector pm

The Wauchope was doing a good job of disposing of the surplus water into the Esk.

Wauchope in flood pm

The dam behind the house was reassuringly low.

dam quiet

I took a picture of two rather soggy dahlias just to add a bit of colour to a dull day.

two sad dahlias

All we can do is to hope that the overnight rain is not too heavy and stops as forecast at 3 am.

The flying bird of the day is a passing rook on its way to find some shelter.

flying rook

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Dropscone and shows a handy chart telling me where to get my coffee from.  He found it in a coffee shop in Bromley, Kent.

coffee belt

I had quite a full day today with a very contrasting set of weather conditions to go with it.

I had to get up early (for me) to take the car to the garage for its annual MOT test.  In order to do this, I needed the full wet weather gear as it was blowing hard and raining heavily and I had to walk back from the garage.

Then it was time for breakfast and a battle with an unforgiving crossword while the rain sluiced down outside.  The rain eased off in time for Dropscone to arrive by bike for a cup of coffee (from Ethiopia).  As we sat and sipped, the wind eased off a bit too and birds returned to the garden.




..and goldfinches

It even got light enough to see some flying birds.

chaffinch and goldfinch

The river had been quite high when I went to the garage in the morning but nothing like as high as yesterday but Dropscone remarked that he had thought that it was well up when he had come for coffee.  It had rained hard before he arrived so after coffee, I went to check.

Dropscone was right.

Church in flood

The church was under threat….

Church in flood

…from all sides.

Once again, I was glad that we don’t live right beside the river.

Esk in flood

Luckily, it had brightened up quite a bit by this time and it looked as though we weren’t going to get flooded in the town.   The park wasn’t so lucky….

Park in flood

…and the Castleholm was awash as well.

Castleholm in flood

Once again today there was talk of road closures and riverside evacuations in neighbouring towns and in the Lake District one poor village was flooded for the fourth time in two months.   We had been lucky again.

But the time that I got home from my brief walk, the sun had come out and the day was looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth.

January sunshine in the garden


I should have gone straight out for a cycle ride but the sudden onset of sunshine gave me such a shock that I had to sit down to recover.

I did get organised in the end though and got the fairly speedy bike out and set off for a few miles up the Wauchope road.

In spite of the blue sky, the ride wasn’t quite idyllic as there was a brisk wind blowing into my face and the road was running with water.  I am trying my very best not to fall off and bang my new knee so very wet conditions make me go cautiously.

Still, the light was gorgeous when I got to my turning point at the top of Callister.


…and even better as I went back down the hill.

view from callister

I stopped to look at one of my favourite cascades but there was almost too much water going over it and it was rather flattened out.

Wauchope cascade

I cycled down to the River Esk when I got back to the town to see if had dropped.  It was well within its banks but looking quite lively all the same.

Esk in flood and sun

Although the temperature had dropped from 10 degrees at eight o’clock to 6 degrees by the time that I had finished cycling, it was still such a nice day that I tempted Mrs Tootlepedal out for a short walk.

Unfortunately, she was deep in some curtain making and by the time that she was ready to go, the sun had gone.  It was still dry though so we took a turn round Gaskell’s Walk.

I took pictures of snowdrops and a nearly out daffodil in our garden before we left…


early daffodil

…and then put the camera away until we passed a tree stump covered with fungus on top and down the side.

fungus on gaskell's

When we came to the top of the bank at the Stubholm, there was more evidence of the damage caused by the weather.

fallen tree Stubholm

We got round our walk in the dry but not long afterwards there was another fierce shower.

It had passed by the time that the car was ready for collection, having passed its test without needing expensive work done.

A bit of research on the internet showed local roads in terrible conditions with landslips and floods on every side.  We were hoping to go to Edinburgh to see Matilda tomorrow but our main railway line is closed because of flood damage to a viaduct and the alternative route requires nearly a hundred miles of driving to get to the station and back.  The forecast for tomorrow is for more heavy rain and driving doesn’t look very appetising at all so we will have to rely on Skype for contact.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Sandy and put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  What with one thing and another, it was our first combined visit for over a month.

There were many opportunities for flying birds today, often all at the same time….

flying birds

…but in the end, I settled for one which wasn’t a very good photograph but which I think makes a striking image.

flying chaffinch

When I was out in the morning, I took a very brief video to show the force of the water passing under the Langholm Bridge.





Read Full Post »

To be perfectly Frank

Today’s guest picture, taken by the father of my flute pupil Luke, shows some paddlers with more bottle than brains in my opinion.  They were about to shoot Skippers Bridge in a major flood.

flood canoeists

Since the Met Office started giving Atlantic depressions people’s names, we seem to have had a new one every few days.  On the whole, I don’t think that giving them names has been a good thing.  It just seems to encourage them.

Our latest visitor was Frank and he was preceded by dire warnings but once again Langholm has been very lucky.  Previously the severe floods have been just to our south and north but on this occasion they have been to our west and north and we got off with nothing more than another soaking and a very brisk wind.

I whiled away the morning sipping coffee sociably with Dropscone and Sandy and then by walking up for a routine visit to the  health centre.  This gave me a chance to look at the river…

Esk in flood

…which was high but not threatening. I stopped to chat on the bridge to a couple of worthies who told me that I had just missed a big tree floating down stream.  There seems to have been a lot less stuff going down the river than in past floods which must be a good thing but I don’t know why this should be.

I certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of taking a kayak out in these conditions and I only hope that the ones in the guest picture of the day came to no harm.

The rain stopped at lunch time and I went out for a short walk just to stretch my legs as it was far too windy to contemplate cycling.  It was so gloomy that my camera on auto used the flash for every attempt at a picture so I didn’t try very often.

Bridges have collapsed in other areas of flooding recently so I looked anxiously at our town bridge as I passed….

Langholm Bridge

…and was very pleased to see that there was no debris piled up against it.  The people who built it in 1775 obviously knew what they were doing.

The ducks were sensibly staying out of the water at the Kilngreen.


As I walked up the new path on the Castelholm, I looked at the trees submerged in the river…

trees in Esk

…and wondered how long they could stand this sort of treatment.  With more rain to come, we just have to hope that we will continue to be lucky.

As I walked along the school playing field, I noticed another walker staring intently off to one side.  He was looking at this.

fallen tree

I am not quite sure how a fallen tree arrived in this position.

When I got home, I got some benefit from a dreary day by putting two and a half weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I have been rather slack in this department lately and as a result, I have quite a lot of catching up to do again.

There was no point in trying to take pictures of birds today so the flying bird of the day is nowhere to be seen.

Note:  Once again, our floods seem to be relatively minor compared to the ones in America, both north and south over the past month where there has been great devastation and some loss of life so I fully appreciate that all our rain here must be seen in perspective.

Read Full Post »

Today’s picture shows the only sun we saw all day.


It wasn’t raining when I got up so I put on the cycling gear but by the time I got downstairs, it was raining and a quick phone call to Dropscone arranged coffee instead of cycling rather than after it.  Of course, as soon as we had arranged not to cycle, it stopped raining but it started again soon afterwards and didn’t stop until eight o’clock in the evening.

It wasn’t raining hard to begin with and after breakfast, I sneaked out into the garden  in the light drizzle to get a flower picture or two.


There were a few bright spots like the new dahlia


These geums have been adding a little splash of colour in a modest way for some weeks now.


I hope Mrs Tootlepedal gets more of these alstroemerias as I like them a lot


A rogue yellow flower on a nasturtium

The weather got steadily worse as Dropscone arrived and Arthur joined us for coffee.  Dropscone had surpassed himself by adding a pile of delicious drop scones to his usual heap of girdle scones so we were well fed and managed to take our minds off our missing pedal.  It was raining heavily by the time they left and I wisely stayed indoors until the rain let up in the evening.

The birds were eating seed at a great rate and I had to refill the feeder three times during the day.

busy feeder

A typical moment

Some birds weren’t able to get onto the feeder and stood on the sidelines shivering.


A poor chaffinch by a drookit fuchsia. It’s hard to say which looks worse.

miserable chaffinch

A miserable chaffinch sheltering in the door of the garage.

A sparrow rather summed things up for me.


sparrow in the rain

Not singing, not dancing in the rain.

One benefit of the wretched day was that it motivated me to do some much needed business and also to put two weeks of the index for the Archive Group into the database.  I have not been doing my fair share of this lately so it was a chance to catch up a bit.

After tea, I thought that I might put up an umbrella and go and see what the rivers looked like after all the rain.  They were rather disappointing to a thrill seeker.  It was with some surprise then that when I looked out of the window a little later, the dam behind the house looked rather swollen.

swollen dam

I went out to investigate.  It doesn’t look too bad in this picture but when you look from here…

Our back door

… you can see that the water was lapping against the side of the house and probably running through the ventilators in the bottom of the wall.  As it was still raining, this didn’t look too good.  I rang up the chap who has responsibility for the dam and he assured me that he had shut the top sluice three weeks ago.  I raised a metaphorical eyebrow and he promised to go and look.  The dam comes from Pool Corner and when I got there, the river looked liked this.

Pool Corner

The engineer was standing with the bloke who had opened the sluice two weeks ago without telling him.  They couldn’t get at it to shut it.   I was not happy but there was nothing to be done so I walked down to Caroline Street to look at the Wauchope further down stream.


It was running full and fast but we would have had no trouble if the sluice had been closed as it should have been.  The Esk itself was full but not overflowing.


Even the ducks didn’t look as though they were enjoying life much in a huddled bunch in a sheltered corner.


It had stopped raining by the time that I got home but the dam was still rising.

Rising dam

I was beginning to get slightly worried about the new kitchen behind that door.

The  dam on the other side of Wauchope Street was getting awash as well.

dam awash

The bright light in the distance was Mrs Tootlepedal on a tour of inspection.

concerned neighbours

A group of concerned neighbours

The talk was of emergency services called out, walls on the High Street collapsed and the main road closed because of overflowing culverts.   It was most exciting.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have stood on this bridge myself to discuss things when the water was quite so high.

bridge on Wauchope Place

Fortunately the rain gave up at last and the dam began to go down and by the time I write this, it is back in its proper course and we hope that no serious damage has been done.

I did manage to catch a flying bird during the day.


The camera does a fantastic job in poor light.  I just put it on auto and press the button.  It was very gloomy when I took the river pictures.







Read Full Post »