[ 01:18 wednesday 25 july – shipton street, london ]
since the weekend mum and dad have inhabited an island surrounded by flood-waters from the swollen river severn. there’s water lapping at the bottom of the garden but mercifully it hasn’t advanced further than that. nobody can get in or out of the village except by boat or helicopter. the water supply was cut off days ago. there have been periods without electricity but at the moment it’s working. mum and dad have moved everything valuable upstairs lest the water rise a few more inches.
i remember one year when i was at school there were severe floods, though not on the present scale. initially access to the village was tidal, with the roads becoming passable twice a day when the tide was low. then we were cut off completely.
we’d brought up a small dinghy with us from cornwall and i remember going out with dad to deliver supplies and sandbags to farms that had become completely cut off from the outside world. my most vivid memory is of going out on my own one evening and rowing through a neighbour’s apple orchard at twilight, navigating carefully to avoid catching the oars on the wizened trees.
: c :