Here’s what happened. Around the Parish Church we could see the line of debris that marked the highest point of the flood which had receded by the time day dawned on Sunday. The riverside path was slimy and covered in mud, so was the grass beside the railings. A couple were delving in the mud with their fingers, with great care. They fished out minnow and stickleback, a glint of silver through a sticky coating of mud. And bullhead, alive. I could see it gasping for air before they released it to the river. Everywhere there were crayfish. Were these the white-clawed crayfish for which this Site of Special Scientific Interest is renowned? I couldn’t make them out in the filth beside the river. And in the hand those claws didn’t look white to me. Maybe. There is a predatory crayfish which threatens the native species. Which did we have? A few children stopped for a nature lesson. The couple on the rescue mission continued. They must have saved hundreds. How many more were lost to the flood?
At St George’s Catholic Church water had climbed the steps, then stopped. Cars drove by through flood water. Father Hugh was mindful of the help the community will need for months to come. He departs for Paris for the Climate Change Conference anon. Now what might be the link between this extreme weather event and Climate Change?
It is a blessing no lives were lost in this latest extreme weather event. But lives were lost, thousands of creatures , the life of the river. If wildlife counts. I suspect it doesn’t feature. If the couple on the mercy mission had not been intent on saving crayfish, bullhead and stickleback I doubt anyone else would have noticed these tiny creatures befouled in mud and gasping.