The Clerk in the Country

Friday 6th November 2020

An anxious winter

This week has felt like a repetition of several months ago.  The thin silver line visible beyond a neighbour’s garden became first a ribbon, and then an expanse, as the river started to fill its overflow area.  It was no surprise to see news of flooding in York and other parts of the county.

The villages along the Aire here are protected by flood defence banks, not always successfully, as we saw in February, but the problem isn’t new.  In December 1891 a villager left a hand-written account of the rising waters.

Dec 10th – River bank full and from neglect broke and flooded all the land between the road and the river.

11th – Bank full and the water crossed the road at 9 pm.  Fastened gates up and broke a hole in the orchard wall to let the water go.

12th – Water lower in the river but still running down the road.

14th – Bank full and water in the road deeper.

15th – Bank full and water on road 3 bricks off top of wall on opposite side.  J Smith having got part of bank repaired, the water on the road began to settle.

16th – Bank full; still coming down the road about 4 bricks from top.  Towards night they got bank repaired and water in the river falling.

17th – Gradually falling in the river and on the road which was clear at 8 pm, having been over the road since the 11th.

For more reasons than one, this will be an anxious winter.