Monday, 30 April 2012

The Ouse in Spate

End of April and we're planning a trip at the end of the week. But what about the weather? Yesterday was the rainest day I can remember in Cambridge. One of those days where you look out of the window and fall back into bed because it's too grim to contemplate...
But wife and friends were running a 10k run along the Cam in the morning so I valiantly set forth to support them, which involved standing in the rain for an hour and a bit, protecting my camera from the downpour and snapping away when they hove into view. They all did really well (though the organisers seem to have lost Jenny's time through some electronic chip failure) and as we stomped off into the warmth of a Chesterton living room the brave rowers continue to stroke back and forth up the Cam, wet through, but oblivious.
But while yesterday was a day for hunkering down and avoiding the outdoors, today dawns warm and dry, so I was in optimistic spirits when I set off for Godmanchester - only to find the river in full spate, the lock and sluices full to the brim of raging water, the recreation ground and much of Port Holme flooded.
I'm glad to say there were no boats out except those in secure moorings, as the speed of water would be easily enough to cause serious problems. It was surely going faster than Patience could go at top speed, and assuming it's the same at Earith, cruisers could probably not fit under the bridge nor even see the channel below the flooded fields.
Here's a pic I took a couple of years ago, last time the Ouse burst its banks at Godmanchester. Not quite so bad today, but not a day for taking Patience out. This scene is normally a lush green lawn looking out onto a gentle river with a grassy recreation ground beyond!
However amongst the rushing through the sluices and the occasional tree trunk charging past I did see a ten minute battle between a gannet and an eel. The gannet had the eel firmly in its beak but couldn't easily get it down its throat. The eel put up a fierce fight, even after it had eventually disappeared down the bird's gullet, and for some time afterwards the gannet was twisted into spasms while the eel continue to try to escape from the stomach. A rare sight in warm sunshine, made possible by the great downpour of the last week.
When will the river slow down to let Patience out? The friendly chaps from the EA couldn't tell me, but they were wearing conspicuous life jackets .... This has officially been the rainiest April since records began over 100 years ago.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Holidays Pic

I dreamed of a holiday on Patience, far away from the rain of the English spring ...

It's a fine mooring but even though it's raining heavily here in the Fens, the waterfall surprised me ....