Flood and fenland

November 09, 2020
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Flood and fenland

Once more the grey blanket of cloud rolls overhead with a foreboding of yet more rain onto an already soaked ground. The fact that I live next to a flood plain near fenland does not concern me. It’s what they are for, to flood when the river bursts its banks.

Most of Cambridgeshire is reclaimed from bog and marshland needing constant tending or it would revert back to this state. The constant battle between water and land provides a really nice mist enveloped landscape. It is perfect for moody misty images. Early in the morning when in the right conditions mist swirls and eddies around the riverside catching the early morning sun providing ideal photographic opportunities. However, there are detractors one person said to me that he could feel himself rotting from the feet up.

Flood

This particular day the river was high. It flowed angrily around bridges and sluices. The water foaming and bubbling noisily with small whirlpools forming in the wake of these obstructions. Debris from further up the river collected for a moment or two hung up on some invisible object beneath the water. To be released, carried down the river until it gets to its final resting place, caught up on the bank. More likely with the river this high it might be the lower limbs of the trees.

When the flood goes down trees and higher ground in plastered with the flotsam and jetsam, detritus of modern life. Most irritating is the plastic sheet from bags and packaging that blow feebly in the wind having been wrapped around the branches.

The water flows sluggishly over the plains. A deep temporary extension of the river expanding its width. A two-mile-wide river flowing slowly pushing its way around fences, gates, and hedges, laden with silt. When the floodwaters go down over the next few weeks it leaves a soggy sludge of fertile mud and some lone pools where the land dips slightly.

Herons and other waders congregate around the pools catching the last few remaining fish that have been trapped there.

Fenland

The fenlands are desolate, stark places brought to life by farmers. Lone farmhouses and buildings stick up in contrast to the flat landscape the water held back by dykes and ditches that need constant attention

I love the remoteness they bring. The freshness of the wind that clears away the fog and rubbish that work brings. I love the floods of winter, the arid summer. The mist enveloped autumn when frosts cling to the reeds and cobwebs are brought life by frost and dew. The bloom of spring when the earth tones turn to a vibrant green. The reeds that hiss in the gentle breeze that never seems to leave. The willows that bend. twist and break but never seem to die.

Part of me wants to shout about it rave about the photographic opportunities the other side wants to keep it a secret that no one knows about, keep it mine, special to me.

 

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