Alexander Averin

Monday, 2 November 2009


Dear Diary,


Samhain left us quietly and October was pleasant, warm and perfectly well-behaved to the very end.  That month has given way now to All Souls Day, the first day of November.

October may have been undemanding but November came in like a new born baby making himself known in a big way.  I blame myself, I should not have badmouthed him in a previous post.

As you may know our cottage sits beside a mountain stream and we woke yesterday to an unfolding drama,  heavy rain and rising waters; the field was awash in a big way, luckily for us the flood water was heading that way and not towards the cottage, not yet anyway.  I had not heard the rain but it must have been torrential all night. I had slept silently and dreamlessly fully expecting any rough weather to arrive during the day but No, this baby had come early.


The waters are rising and even though it goes against the grain because it is a Sunday morning I must rise too, I dress quickly and don my wellies and rain gear.  Once outside it is already dramatic, the sound of the wind, the roaring of the water and the extent of its spread.  We know what to do now though, it is a race against time, experience guides us as we have been flooded before.  Everything is moved, anything that could float away.  We must move things before they are moved for us.  In the past we have lost benches, tables, chairs etc.  We rescue the mowers and the chainsaw from the shed;  pots, tables, chairs, ornaments and bits and pieces I value, even the bird feeding station, all are moved to higher, safer ground.

It rains on, waters rush by and  rise.

I have a great time then sweeping the leaves, both our own and those that have swept downstream in the flood.  I clear them all and send them on their way further down the river.  It was a job waiting to be done so I feel quite pleased about that.

We watch giant pooh sticks sail by and wonder if they will go left into the field and be future firewood or if they will go straight on and end up who knows where. 

The wind is very strong and we wonder if any trees will come down anywhere, not here because we are in a fairly sheltered valley but we know if the wind is strong here then it will be very wild elsewhere.   The bridge has been covered in debris, mainly wood and leaves and it strongly resembles Niagara Falls now but God willing the bridge itself will not move this time as it is now jammed against a tree.  A new kind of island has appeared in the field and we know that the river course will be altered again.  ‘Twas ever thus.   I thank God it has made a good flood plain though and  the cottage has not been put at risk.

Even so we phone the local council emergency line as the water is edging towards the back door, it is about twelve feet away but we know from past experience how quickly it can move.  Even though it is a Sunday it is not too long before the sandbag angels arrive (Aren’t they wonderful?  Full credit to our local council) and the men lay the bags snugly at our threshold and leave us some spares too.

Then at last everything calms, the rain eases and then stops, the waters recede slowly but not completely.  We are safe and we can relax,  We take the dogs into the field, going round the main road way and we survey the damage, wading through the floods we take a few more photos and then return to the cottage for a well earned hot cuppa.

November has settled now and like any new baby, this new month has quietened at last…..until the next time. 

And today there is no drama, no excitement and the river too is quiet, she does not cry, she only murmurs.

Bye for now,

PS  I am still reading Monty’s Ivington Diaries and have discovered that he too lives by a river, the Arrow, his garden is flooded sometimes and the water in the past has come to his back door.  That is comforting in a way especially as he thinks it is a beautiful sight and considers himself lucky in that the flood water is clean and brings not rubbish or anything disgusting with it but only lovely silt to the garden.  Dear Monty, he is a man after my own heart.


Mark said...

Nice writing.

What is the name of the river? I have kayaked a lot of spate rivers in Mid wales. One of my favourites used to be the Sawdde.

I once ran the river above Abergwesyn - very scary in parts.

I love the power of the spate, and the smell of it too - rivers in spate have a very particular smell; fresh.


ds said...

Oh, my! November slipped in very quietly here. Loved the "pooh sticks"!
Glad you were able to get everything out of the way of the water.

Preseli Mags said...

I didn't know there were 'sand bag angels', but thank goodness they exist. I clearly remember your previous blog about flooding. Did you lose anything or gain anything this time? Perhaps, one day, your missing benches, tables and chairs will return!

Pipany said...

Golly, I honestly thought you were going to say the waters came into the house Cait. It must be very dramtaic to see it all going on at close hand x


Ah yes Cait, we were experiencing the same dramatic weather over here. Was woken earlier than I wanted on Sunday morning to howling gales hurling rain at the house and water coming in THROUGH THE STONE - literally dripping down from the top or the windows and leaving huge puddles all over the (luckily) ample windowsills. I will probably do a quick blog about it.

Glad all was well with you in the end. Have been sweeping leaves too and clearing then from the stream. Very satisfying, isn't it?

Thanks so much for your comments over at mine. I would love to see the poem you referred to. Will try sending you a quick email as well as this comment.

Frances said...

Cait, I am so glad that the sandbag angels arrived quickly, and that the storm moved on.

What an entrance from a new month! You've described it well, that gradual recognition of Nature's drama on display. Wow.


Bovey Belle said...

Snap - the weather and rising waters that is. Fortunately, we are a good hundred feet or more above our river, but it can rise 8 feet in a couple of hours so scarey for the people living along it. By the time I went out for photos it had dropped a few feet, and we could negotiate the lanes again (which had been over-run earlier). The joys of the Welsh monsoon season are here . . .

Cottage Garden said...

Oh my gosh Cait, that was a close thing! November really did come in with a roar ... great piece of writing. Glad you managed to get everything moved and that you are safe.
I think Monty enjoys the drama of nature too well!

Jeanne x

Nutty Gnome said...

..... and I thought we'd had a lot of rain! I hope you and the cottage survived unscathed and the river has started to receed now?!

Thanks for a fascinating blog ...I've had angel feathers too.

Pam said...

Wow Cait - close call! Glad that the waters receded, and that you had sand bag angels to help so quickly!

Marcheline said...

Hello Cait, from a spirit sister on Long Island!

Tripped across your blog "by accident" (ha) and saw so many things that felt like home to me.

My husband and I used a poem by Kahlil Gibran in our Scottish handfasting/wedding... I have a home (New York) and a spirit home (Scotland)... I also live in a cottage - mine belonged to a Rabbi before the temple had to sell the property due to economic distress back in the 40's.

I've added you to my blogroll and am looking forward to coming back to explore your world!


Marcheline said...

Dear Cait,

I'm sorry for re-posting, it's just that I've gone back to your 2007 posts and started from the beginning, and I'm... there's just so much I want to say to you.

On Thursday, August 16, 2007 you did a post about reunion, memory, reconnections with lost loves, and I just had to ask you this.

Have you ever read a book called "Ferney", by James Long?

Give it a go, it's magic.

- M

P.S. It's already one in the morning, and I still have so much catching up to do!

FireLight said...

Thank you for taking me straight to your little piece of heaven in Wales. Beautiful writing, my dear!

Elizabeth said...

Cait, I loved your post about Samhain.
I hope your stream is calmer now?

I have a little gold clock that belonged to my grandmother.
Sometimes it goes sometimes it doesn't.It chimes sometimes then weeks go by when it doesn't.
I love it to bits.

willow said...

Where did sweet October go? Always enjoy your peaceful writing. ~x

Margie said...

Oh wow, unfolding drama presented perfectly, I read through the words holding my breath for fear of the rising waters. Your writing style is beautiful, but then great writing comes from the spontaneous overflow of emotion. I hope the baby stays calm and rested for some time. hugs, Margie.

Packrat said...

Good Morning. (At least it is morning here.) I popped over from Aunt Amelia's blog.

What a beautiful description of the rising water! I felt like I was right there with you. I have also lived very close - literally within throwing distance - of a river. The power of a river in flood is at once terrifying and amazing.

I haven't had time to read more of your blog, but what I saw is beautiful.

Packrat said...

PS: You do not have word verification turned on. That should make Aunt Amelia very happy. :)

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

Was getting a tad worried that I had not seen you for a while, apologies for arriving here late, just catching up.

Sorry to hear you have had serious flooding, do hope not too much damage to your beautiful cottage, pleased the sand bag Angels arrived.

Monty Don's book is what I have put on my wanted list of books, such a lovely man and wonderful gardener.

Beautiful writing as ever by you dear Cait.