Saturday 4 January 2014

The British Weather

Now all over the world we seem to be having extremes of weather like at the moment in the US & Canada you have snow and ice storms as opposed to the wind and rain we are having here, the one thing you can be sure of is floods after. I know people are putting it down to global warming, but is it. Weather extremes in the UK are a matter of course. We have been having floods for years and heavy snow  so in this blog I will show a little of what happened in my lifetime.

First I will take you back 50 years to 1963, that was when I first remember the bad winter (should do I was off school for  a month) There had been a lot of rain before Christmas and the Thames flooded. It the froze and snowed, hailed and snowed some more. End result was the Thames froze over along with the floods. That is my mate Chris stood on he floods. There is photo also showing his Uncle stood on the Thames and beside him is a fire with a dead pigeon roasting on it.

This photos is a bit upstream of the last photo and I can only think it was taken before hand as the area would have been flooded. The area in the distance is the spoil from the Thames after it was dredged. Might add that to my knowledge was the last time it was done.

The same area from the other direction showing how flooded it was in 2012, the spoil heap was flattened off and is to the left.

Back to the floods. Again this was taken around 1963 and shows the are called Cholsey Marsh. The Thames  path is not in evidence yet will go past the boathouse.

This is the same area a few years ago when it was flooded, the boathouse is still there to the right.

A little to the left of the boathouse is more of the marsh and what is known locally as Ferry Lane  

Same bit forty years later and as you can see a few more willows have grown.

Same area flooded years later now part of Cholsey Marsh

 This is Ferry lane when it is flooded. The Thames is about 100 meters in the distance.
The whole area flooded

I took this  not far from where I live, the area gets flooded badly in heavy rain like you can see in the photo below

This was a cloudburst we had.

Lets go back to some snow. Now we had cold winters when I was a kid, November the frosts came but they seem to be a thing of the past but in 1980 this happened. This is the Westfield Road in Cholsey

Normally the road would look like this. The photo of the mini in the snow was taken along  the road past the trees you see to the left.

This is a view of Cholsey from and old Roman road outside the village, you can see the whole are is covered in snow.

We also get the odd icicle

The village does have it's fair share of snow

but generally the roads are passable 

These steps as by Wallingford Bridge and is an interesting place as there are some flood markers you can see, it's also a good reference point. Note the grass on the opposite bank is showing

These two cheap ass  plastic labels can be seen  to the right of the large step in the photo above.

Just over 24 hours after the previous photos the river had risen and the grass on the opposite bank had gone.

This is the bridge and flood level in 2003

Christmas day 2012 it looked like this

and this was taken a few days ago, you need to reference the railings on the left in the last few photos

One last thing these flood marks are from the late 1800s and you can see them in the photo above and in all three photos if you look. 

These were the floods a last year and plonked between those two boats is one which sunk

24 Hour later it looked like this

Same view in 2013 showing a lot more water.

Wallingford Waterside park  on New Years Eve.

Compare that with 2003, the paddling pool is way under water as is the swimming pool

The Boathouse which is now a restaurant. The place used hire boats out when I was a kid but it closed and is now what you see now.

In 2003 it looked like this, the picnic benches piled up and floating away

they never learn as it still happens.

One of the other things thant happens after snow and rain is the fields flood like you can see here in he distance

Footpaths become waterlogged  & impassable if your not prepared

The gulls take full advantage of it though

The drainage ditches are the problem as they can't cope. The whole area I just showed was once marsh so does tend to get waterlogged but it does not take away the fact half the problem we have is lack of drainage.
 I'll leave you with these photos of Wallingford Bridge taken on Christmas Day 2012
Floods can look beautiful in their own way even though they do cause a lot of damage.
Global warming may be partly to blame and certainly the seasons have changed but as you can see from the photos I have shown through the years can it be blamed or is it down to our environment and expanding  population  and the housing being built on the flood plain. I would not like to say but one this is for sure, we will still get snow, Rain & floods.


  1. Your photos are a wonderful record showing the effects of the weather in your area over the years. What I have noticed here in London is the increase in the frequency of flooding and snowfalls. I do not know whether this is the result of climate change or not but I do know that building on flood plains cannot benefit the environment one little bit!

  2. It was interesting to see the comparisons in your photos, Bill. There was terrible flooding in my state of Colorado this summer. Many areas received a years worth of rain in a few days. Fortunately, it did not happen to our area although we did have heavy rain. I hope you won't have any flooding in your house!

    1. Apart from the road flooding which you see in the photos we are ok, the river has a long way to rise before the village is in trouble

  3. Great photos Bill and a marvelous record of what's been going on in your area. I hope you are keeping your feet dry :)

    1. Oh yes no worry about that, glad you liked my piece of history

  4. Lovely shots - and that's a lot of flooding!

    1. Need to add a couple of photos, the level was over the 2007 mark & by the 2003 one. The swimming pool has disapeared for now

  5. A fascinating look at the weather over these past years. What I don't understand with all this evidence why are houses still built on flood plains.

  6. Stunning photo before the last! This post shows why I hate Winter! :-) Well, we are supposed to have mild ones, but nowadays nothing is for granted.

    1. You are so right there, I never take it for granted nowadays

  7. Great set of pictures - my mum always send that my love of cold weather came from the winter of '63 - I was not out and about in it, but I was alive!! Bit of a pity I now see one frost a year!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. I spent the whole of that winter playing out in it. I loved it, now we only get a few frosts and snow on occasion.

  8. As we are in our third year of drought, we would welcome some of this water in California!

    1. So I keep reading, I think we would love you to have so of the rain we have been having