Wednesday, 25 July 2007

We shall not be moved.

At 11pm last night we were preparing for bed when 2 Oxford City Council trucks (Lorries) arrived with 10-15 ton of sand bags. Within minutes people appeared from nowhere to help place the sand bags all down the edge of the river bank. Peter and I did our bit and got out there and helped for an hour or so.

We had been advised yet again that the flood level would rise again over night so none of us slept well. However at 3 am we heard the police knocking on all the doors along the street advising householders to evacuate as a 2 foot SURGE was imminent within the next hour. I don’t know why they persist in using this terminology ‘surge’ because it just gives the wrong impression of what is really going to happen.

Dot popped her head up to the window and was spotted by a policeman who came over to give us the same story. We of course said we would stay aboard. After some thought Dot and Pam decided that they would leave and go to the evacuation centre but found out that they would be bussed miles away so they opted to wait on Botley Road bridge until after the deadline hour had passed to see what happened. While waiting on the bridge they were interviewed by BBC World service and Peter took a coffee and biscuits up to them to keep them going.

Peter and I stayed and after re arranging our mooring ropes we went along the line of boats to help others. During the course of the morning more sandbags arrived and a major sand bagging effort got under way on the opposite side of the river where not much had been done up until now.

By 6 am there had been no noticeable difference in the water level alongside the boat and the girls decided to return to the boat complaining that it had been quite cold up on the bridge.
We then had an early breakfast and the other 3 then got their heads down to try and get some shut eye. I stayed up because by this time I was wide awake and I could carry on monitoring the water level.
While wandering around outside I was approached by a reporter from the Oxford Daily Mail requesting an interview so not to be out done by the girls I agreed. I even had my picture taken. The reporter also passes stories on to the Times newspaper which sometimes run his stories.
It is now nearly 9am and the water level alongside the boat is still the same as it was 5 hours ago so somebody in the EA or the emergencies services got it wrong. Sure the river is now at its highest since last Friday but it has not overflowed the bank yet.
Unfortunately South St and a few others have succumbed to flooding coming in from the allotments and the drainage channel around the other side of Osney Island but the road way along side the boat is still dry. The fire brigade has been working franticly all night to keep water out of power sub station on Osney Island because if that goes down a lot of Oxfordshire will be without power.

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