The Great Wraysbury Flood – 2014 (1)

Part One

Captain Gilligan

Captain Gilligan

It all began on Tuesday 7th January 2014. It was my son’s birthday and the last day of the festive break, which every year taints the celebratory mood we should all be in for his day. Being born in June myself I have always felt sorry for people whose birthdays fall just after Christmas, probably the most depressing time of the year, until of course I read ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell and realized it was probably my classmates at school who were born in January and were therefore six months older than me that took my rightful place in the school football team!  That and the fact that I was crap at football!

Suffering the usual shock following a three week vacation with the realization  that tomorrow I would have to be up at 6.00am and adopt the work mode approach to life at an already depressing, cold and wet time of year, I decided to distract myself and take my dog Bracken for a walk to check on the level of The River Thames at the end of the road.

For the past few weeks the weather had been atrocious, after a dry start to December it seemed hardly a day had passed without a deluge of rain or horrendous winds in some part of the UK so I knew the river would be high.

Before we reached the river, which is about 400 yards from our house, Bracken dug his heals in and refused to go any further despite not being able to see the river yet. After unsuccessful attempts to coax him down the path leading to the slipway I gave up and decided to walk around the neighborhood. Good job I did. Already the river had burst its banks and had flooded many of the gardens that back on to it. I’d never seen anything like it before. As we walked around the block I felt a huge amount of sympathy for the poor residents, many of whom looked like they were evacuating their homes, I felt sorry for them and for the many people who had not had heating or electricity in their homes in other parts of the country over Christmas. It helped me stop sulking about having to go back to work the next day.

As Bracken and I walked further down the street at the back of our house the water became deeper. Before we bought our house in 2004, we had done the necessary research and knew that the house hadn’t been affected during the last flood in 2003, so I was relatively calm and assumed this was probably what happened last time and that things would subside before I needed to worry. Despite my relative calm on returning home, I ventured out again before bedtime just to check we were safe and helped to move a Porche for a friend who lived closer to the river, which I did with great enthusiasm….and caution! By bedtime I was certainly distracted from work and keeping things nicely in perspective. (To be continued………………)

Disclaimer: The content in my blog is provided for entertainment purposes only and as such is in no way reflective of any recognized sailing regulations or guidance. Whilst all the stories are factually correct, the identities of the people concerned may have been changed to protect me from any liability. Please consult a sailing book, preferably endorsed by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), before going anywhere near the River Thames. All content is copyrighted to Bracken, in the hope it might eventually pay for his chemo!

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