My better half regards the dismal weather beyobd the window and wishes he was back in Australia. Really? When questioned, he answers: Well, perhaps what I want is Australian weather here.That’s because here in northern England it’s grey and raining and half the country seems to be flooded. He’s forgotten how bright it was on Thursday, when we had blue skies, sunshine with frost and the world looked bright and sparkly.
Looking at pictures of flooded fields and towns on tv, it makes me wonder how folk survived in the sixteenth century. They didn’t have tarmacked roads or cars to keep them safe and dry, nor a centrally heated home or hotel waiting for them at the end of the journey. If they travelled at all in the winter months, it would be on horseback or covered waggon, slogging through miserable, freezing weather and avoiding puddles, swollen rivers and marshlands – and there would be plenty of those before the fields were drained and rivers restrained between stone walls.Before we went to Australia, a culvert burst under pressure of the rain in Newburn, a suburb of Newcastle, and caused havoc. Now we are back home, and we hear that the Local Environment Department is worried because though there are several known culverts flowing beneath Newcastle into the Tyne – no one knows exactly where they run, and the old maps depicting their course are no longer available. Duh! Bad mark to someone in the records office!
Evidently the owner of land is responsible for the safe conduct of water fron one side of the property to the other, which is a worrying thought for landlords and businesses in the city centre, certainly, but also for the average homeowner who may suspect a water culvert runs beneath his house or garden.Insignificant water courses on hillsides such as the Tyne valley can become torrents under heavy rain, as many of us have discovered in recent times. Suddenly it seems that no one is safe.