Wednesday, 19 February 2014
The other day while walking round Thame in Oxforshire my wife pointed out a plaque on a wall she thought was a date for the house. I explained it was an Insurance Fire Mark which were quite common on houses back in the 17th century and indicated that the house would be safe in the event of a fire, safe that is if you were up todate with your insurance the company fire brigade would extinguish it for you. Mind you only if they got there in time. I thought that the marks would be a good idea for a blog so I'll show a few of the ones I have come across
The first time I came across them was while walking round a village called Blewbury which is just off the downs in what was Berkshire
Along the London road I noticed this mark high up on a cottage wall.
The next time I was in the Village I spotted this one which was a different type
Then a round the corner along a road called Nottingham Fee a familiar one high on the wall of a house.
I noticed this one was in a village called Drayton just off the green. I stopped to take a photo of this mark only to be asked by a neighbor what I was doing and could they help. Nothing wrong in looking out for next door is there. I told them and they said look along the Causeway there are a number of houses with them.
They were right about that, and all of them different
Looks like it was painted over at one point
You can just make this one out forming part of the decoration at the bottom
The next two were on the same house I don't think they are on the original house and most likely put on as decoration
One was used as a house name
It was called Phoenix House along the Bromyard Road in Worcester
This cottage in Thame has mark on it
which I might add this is one I have not seen before.
Saturday, 4 January 2014
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.
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 left.
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 from Ferry Lane a few years later
This is Ferry lane when it is flooded. The Thames is about 100 meters in the distance.
I took this photo the other day and it's 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.
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 tow cheap ass plastic lables can be seen to the right of the large step in the photo above.
Another 24 hours and it is over the 2007 level and 20cm off the 2003 0ne
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
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 that 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 because we have lost so many ditches
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.