Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Floods and country walks

One of the joys of walking the dog is getting out and about in the countryside. Even in the cold days of January, there is greenery around here in the north and this year we've had a lot of sunshine and days well above freezing. When the trees have lost their leaves there is so much more to see for those like me, who are essentially nosy. I'm well aware we are the lucky ones, and that for those who live near the coast in the south and west of the UK, flooding seems to be a constant threat.
Our local river - the Tyne - is high and has been high for weeks, but so far I have not heard of actual floods. It's running fast and it's a dirty brown colour with all the mud and silt it carries. Every time the water level drops, there are vast pile-ups of dead wood, branches, and mud left behind, and in among the debris plastic pails, paint tins, plant pots and just plain old plastic drinks bottles poke out of the mound. Heaven knows what else is lurking there unseen. The air stinks as the unsightly mass dries out. Paths we walk every day bear evidence of being underwater overnight - logs stranded by the water block our path. One day all this rubbish is going to be swept downriver on the next flood and it will end up in Newcastle and, eventually, the sea. Once there, the tides will no doubt wash it up on our beaches.

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