Did I mention we live in a ditch? No? Well we do. It’s a big ditch, but, as far as we are concerned, it’s a ditch none the less.
Okay we live in a valley. Right at the bottom. The valley is about five miles long and cuts into the North Downs, which is a range of hills which run along the bottom of London.
A road runs along the bottom of the valley. Its called the A22. Not very inspiring, but bits of it hark back to Roman times, when they needed a route from the south coast to Londinium.
Apart from some sheep the valley remained fairly unpopulated for thousands of years. Then came the railways. Two railways were built through the valley in the nineteenth century, and with them came commuters.
Many hundreds of Victorian ‘two-up, two-down’ terraced homes were built for working-class, white-collar City workers and suddenly thousands of people flooded the valley. And it went on into the 1930s.
What’s all this got to do with floods? Well all the while, down through the millenia, a little river, called the Caterham Bourne, has been winding its way down the valley, joining the River Wandle and onto olde mother (father?) Thames. The Thames, the life blood of London itself.
What’s a Bourne? Basically it’s a stream that only flows when there is a lot rain. So you tend to forget it’s even there…
Doesn’t look much…but this thing is shifting 5000 gallons a minute….or is that litres…whatever, it’s enough to get this lot pumping….
Fireman attacked by giant Costa Skinny Caramel Latte. No really.