Floods On High

During a ride that went over the hills from Woolhampton up to Bradfield, down then up again to Upper Basildon, down to Goring and up again to Woodcote, it’s obvious that the warnings about floods being easily possible in coming weeks are all too real. After last night’s rain absolutely everywhere was sodden, no matter how high I was.

A sodden English lane in Autumn.

A sodden English lane in Autumn.

This feels like the classic English autumn of lore but it’s coming after an untypically wet summer. It is all adding up. I’ve know I’ve said it before but it continues to astound me that anyone wants to pretend – to themselves or anyone else – that the climate isn’t changing. Perhaps the most interesting thing is our – collective and individual – reaction to it. Fiddling whilst our world burns? Denial? Bolting doors on empty stables? Human nature is an odd thing.

I’m mindful, too, that the home counties aren’t suffering much (as yet) from the unusual weather patterns. If it’s out of kilter here, it must be far more obvious elsewhere – particularly further west.

Still, for all that, it was a decent enough ride – albeit one that required some making-it-up-as-you-go regarding the route to try and avoid lanes that were likely to be seriously awash with water, mud and grit. Around here, the grit all too often carries flint in it – sharp little slivers of the stuff that will go through anything. Ancient man used flint as a blade; it can be all too obvious why.

It felt like drivers were going out of their way to be considerate too – helpful when, on two wheels, dealing with puddles and pot-holes is that much trickier and that much more important. Thanks, particularly, to the Mick Bicknell lorry near Elvendon Priory and The Light Corporation van near the Bird-in-Hand, outside Sonning Common, and numerous unidentifiable motorists. It is appreciated.

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