Our gardens totally flooded today

The river levels even further up this morning, after I had monitored them until late last night, and my riverside gardens and the Paper Mill road had flooded completely until the levels subsided later. Debbie attended the Evangelical Church with Amy and then we attended the Little Paxton Harvest Festival Church service. I was firm with Daniel, Paul and Mrs Kingham about Paul’s midnight cider punch party not being suitable for Daniel or 15/16-year-olds in general. The Indian peace keeping forces in Sri Lanka claimed to have killed more than 65 Tamil Tiger guerrillas, with a loss of 6 of their own, a tourist plane crashes in Burma, killing 49 and the UK government block extra cash being invested for European Space development

My retirement last night was even later than I thought. I checked the state of the river at 11.00pm and found it high and still rising and so had to switch on the ‘floodlights’ (!) and spend the next two hours piling up and moving the loose wood that could otherwise have got swept away. It was 1.00am before I got to bed and, still being awake and wondering about the river levels at 2.30am, I rolled over and cuddled Diana for a while to relax and tire myself enough to sleep reasonably for the night. This morning, the river was even further up and when I walked up to the lock this morning, I saw that all three sluice gates were wide open and the lock gates were tied back and raised to make a fourth sluice. Even then, the water was flowing across the road at the Paper Mill, to make a ford for the cars.

A nice fried breakfast today, because Di was upset because it meant getting her cooking pans all greasy and even then the children would not eat all her food up. After, I spent the time feeding the doves and ducks, chatting to the neighbours and keeping an eye on the river levels, which rose steadily all morning. I had to get all of the straw out of the second half of the duck house (normally kept secured with no access to the ducks, as a straw store) and put it safely into a plastic dustbin bag in the summer house. The new ‘mound’ for the summerhouse was most effective in keeping the water at bay, but the low lying aspect of ‘Bill’s Shed’ was a worry. I took Della paddling on the submerged paving stones and also gave her a push on the tree swing suspended above the water, all whilst Debbie was at the St Neots Evangelical Church Harvest Festival with her friend, Amy Law, and family. Unfortunately, Della was naughty and would not come back up in time for lunch and this made Di upset again. This afternoon, I read the papers for a while and then it was time for our family to go to the Little Paxton church harvest festival. Della took a few duck eggs and Debbie a nice basket of pears and apples. It was a nice, sunny, though cool, day today and we walked to St James Church. It was full for the service and it was a nice one, a little spoilt by crying babies, obviously too young for such an event. I admire the Reverend Peter Lewis, who copes with his congregation in a pleasant, informal and humorous way. I hope his family settle easily into the village and his wife gets a job soon, as a local teacher, rather than having to travel to London each day. At the end of the service, local schoolteacher and Women’s Institute member, Mrs Rocket, came up and wanted details on Little Paxton for a paper she has to write for the WI and I agreed to help her. The walk home, with Daniel grumpy with my decision over Paul’s party next Saturday. I said that he could not stay there all night, nor indeed stay after 10.00pm, by which time I want him collected. Mrs Kingham will be giving them a cider punch and letting them have a ‘midnight feast’ after an 11.00pm party finish and I do not think that is appropriate for 15/16 year olds. She rang to speak to us tonight and talked to Diana, but I am still of the same mind. I was out until dark piling up wood again, as a table, loaded with it, fell over as its legs sank into the soft earth. The river level is falling this evening and all of the sheds and new games lawn bed were untouched. The rest of the riverside gardens were well under, though, and will be quite a mess with the debris. Tea of cucumber and tomato sandwiches, after the others had finished, and then I wrote up today’s journal quite early, to get the task out of the way for an early night. The news tonight is of India’s peace keeping forces in Sri Lanka claiming to have killed 65 Tamil Tiger guerrillas and taken 200+ prisoners in the last day; all for the loss of only 6 of their own men. The Indians are out to ‘smash the Tiger’s military power’, after Tamils are supposed to have massacred Sinhalese. In an air crash accident in Burma, 5 Britons were among 49 people killed on the tourist flight. The IRA have attacked an army observation post in Northern Ireland, in the Broadway, West Belfast, without casualty. This government has displayed its short sightedness again by blocking extra cash investment in space development in the European endeavour. This will be seen in a bad light in years to come. At the end of a £1million search for the Loch Ness Monster, with the largest number of boats and most sophisticated radar sets yet, nothing has been found.