Having strayed onto the subject of weather yesterday I wasn't going to mention it again for...oh weeks and weeks... unless we had snow of course, but as the flood crisis deepens (sorry, but true) here in the UK and, without being dramatic or alarmist, we seem to be verging on the brink of National Emergency, it's hard to ignore it all so I might as well just get it all out of my system.
I am trying to remember those days when the weather wasn't the subject of daily news headlines, but we are living through something above and beyond even the average British preoccupation at the moment, and it all seems to have been going on for weeks and weeks now, the old jet stream stuck over our heads and apparently the polar vortex over the US has been a factor in that, along with winds over the Equator ... a chain reaction that is seeing so many of us living through extremes.
Somerset I have already mentioned, the Thames is now off on a frolic of its own, and the entire West Country is a bit bruised and battered to say the least, and at one point was completely cut off by rail. As it is there will be no trains down past Exeter for a while since the Dawlish sea wall was pounded into submission last week. Heavens, the times I travel on that and have captured moments like this from the train window, or have walked it because the the Tinker and my mum lived nearby for fifteen years...
Tens of metres of the sea wall swept away leaving the main train line into the South West (between Exeter and Plymouth) dangling in mid-air, and at one point the only other train route blocked by a landslide, so no trains running south of Bristol. A massive repair operation in progress, six hour shifts governed by the tides and the weather, a truly Sysiphian task if ever there was one. It really is all the eggs in one basket stuff, no alternative train routes, maybe tap into the zillions being poured into making the controversial route between London and Birmingham faster, it would be really good to be able to get in and out of Devon and Cornwall at all.
The Beeching railway cuts of the 1960s put paid to all the other viable aternative routes in the West Country, one of which passed through Tavistock, heavens what we'd all give to have the old Tavistock South station there now...
Even this old workman's train would be welcome...
In fact Tavistock had two stations, North and South, that's how well-railwayed we were, both now long gone and replaced by council offices, social services and doctor's surgeries, but I wonder how everyone must have felt on the day in May 1964 when this happened...
Had the trains really become so passe with the arrival of the car ??
Did we really think we wouldn't need them again??
I was only ten so I'm not sure what I thought, if anything.
Now might be the time to confess that in the loft of our old house Bookhound built a replica model railway layout of Tavistock's railways for himself the children, and many happy hours were spent up their chuffing away to their heart's content, and these pictures were given to us many years ago by one of the town's old railway enthusiasts who had been there to witness it all. He and Bookhound would meet in the model railway shop and talk of the days of the Great Western Railway under steam for hours on end.
Local tribulations, as if all this stormy weather wasn't enough, and an accident on one of the major bridges over the Tamar into Devon at Gunnislake (man, van, through bridge, into swollen river, lucky escape) sees it closed for several weeks, and much of the traffic now finding its way over our little crossing down at Horsebridge.
Built by the monks in 1437, the Brothers can have had no idea of the chaos to come some 577 years later over their sweet, quaint little bridge, now also a bit floodified...
Forget the English Civil war battle fought at this very spot (reconstruction, not actual pic)
...just imagine hordes of cars queued either side of a single track bridge, with a car trailing a boat stuck in the middle of said bridge, and with the Tamar approaching bank-bursting levels beneath. We hear there was a Cavalier - Roundhead stand off which thankfully stopped short of a pikestaff charge, but the extra traffic whizzing around the lanes is adding extra excitement, and much reversing, to every trip out.
But it's not just us, the whole country/ world has taken a battering... so enough whingeing from me and I am optimistic. It's all been a national wake up call so I have a feeling good things will come of this entire waterlogged episode.
So time for an update from you all ...how is it over your way??