Saturday, February 8, 2014

River Chelmer

peering through the hedge at the rush of water

Today we woke up to the wind buffeting the windows once more, but yesterday the sun shone and the rain had stopped so we walked down to the river, and the pub. The news has been bad, the Somerset Levels the worst hit, the shoreline of Wales and Cornwall, magnificent with the great waves beating against the shore line, scary of course and a tragedy for the people whose cottages cling to the quaysides, but nature has decided to put on a show and there is nothing much we can do about but clear up the mess afterwards.
So how did our river perform, that slow meandering Essex river that has been rationalised into a navigation river and has locks along its length.  Not too badly, it is very swollen, the banks are under water for about fifteen feet and the mill stream is racing along churning and bubbling like an over excited foal around the old mill house.  Firstly, this river is dredged, last year saw the workmen working several weeks to dredge the bottom in the water meadows, so perhaps disaster was averted.
The mill is surrounded on all sides by water, the river in front, and the mill stream in an 'u' shaped curve winds through the garden, with a small bridge to the garden, which is underwater at the moment. The buildings sit higher, a causeway to the lane and the water rushing underneath. The whole scene is rather beautiful, if you know this part of Essex, and indeed Suffolk, river banks are lined with the silvery leafed willows, you can plot the trail of a river through the landscape by this silver thread.
So the landscape is peaceful, a flock of seagulls take resident on a small lake that was once a field, the ground is saturated in the other fields, we watch our feet carefully, small cranesbill plants are scattered around their leaves finely dissected and rather pretty.  Staring down into the brown muddy water flowing at quite a speed under the bridge, allows one to meditate on the wondrous force of nature, my mind in its emptyiness sees the fish crouching under the old leaves of the water lilies bunkering down from the tidal rush above.

The garden looks so peaceful

The mill


  1. We drove down to Hampshire today, I was shocked at the burst river banks and flooded fields, roads and lanes.
    Tomorrow we are taking part in collecting essential items for Somerset people hit by floods, such as socks, bin bags, disinfectant, towels etc

    1. Hi Kath, it is lovely to see people gathering round and helping out, as Jennie says I am sure it is much appreciated. The Guardian photo link up above shows some of the grim realities, though the children seem to be loving it...

  2. Looks like you have quite enough water up around you then Thelma. Hopefully it won't encroach too much further.

    Kath - my friends have been saying how bad the Forest was, and now it's my mum's home town of Romsey which is getting flooded. Well done with helping out tomorrow. Much needed and appreciated.

    1. Is it not mostly on sand the New Forest Jennie? the argument at the moment now of course is planting trees on the upland areas to stem the water as it floods down into the valleys...