Posts Tagged ‘flood’

Down by the Thames

BBC picture: Princes William & Harry moving sandbags at Datchet

BBC picture: Princes William & Harry moving sandbags at Datchet

Fifty years later, I’m startled to see the names of English villages I once knew show up on the BBC international news. Huge storms slamming the U.K.  have flooded the Thames Valley west of London. I remember Datchet. My husband found his first job there when we moved from New Zealand to England in the early 1960s. On a map this area just west of Heathrow Airport shows more blue than green. The River Thames meanders through, making oxbows and loops. Manmade reservoirs, lakes and channels attempt to contain the water. The map shows the familiar stops on the railway line from London: Wraysbury, Sunnymeade, Datchet, Windsor, where we found a place to live. Today, princes William and Harry are helping to pile thousands of sandbags in Datchet. The weather map shows more floodwater coming.

BBC weather map 2/14/2014

 What I remember most about Datchet is a cricket match. Our first summer in England, and we marveled that the sun did not set until about 10:00 pm. We were exploring the village one evening, and happened on the Datchet Cricket Club. Sunlight was golden across the grass, bathing the white flannels of the players and the trees surrounding the pitch in a romantic glow. Cricket is played in New Zealand, so we knew the game and appreciated its stately pace and formal rituals. The scene has stayed in our minds as the exemplar of the England we imagined when we left New Zealand.