The local Drainage Boards pride themselves, with their pumps and drains and management techniques, on being able to shift the water around and flood whichever bit they like. Just south of Glastonbury, between the bottom of Wearyall Hill and the River Brue, gets flooded most years. It happens particularly when there’s been a lot of rain in Wales; the Severn Estuary gets so full of water that the Brue and other Somerset rivers can’t drain away, start backing up, and the Drainage Boards’ technical prowess comes into play to keep things under control.
This year, there’s water everywhere. Avalon looks like it might be an island once again, if only temporarily. Low-lying parts of Somerset, as in years gone by, could only be inhabitable in summer.
All this rain puts me in mind of doomsday global warming scenarios, which often suggest that the world will not only be hot, but dried out, a desert. I don’t get it. If it’s going to be hotter, with ice melting and more water evaporating from the oceans, won’t there be more rain?
I’ve got a book ['The Link'] by Colin Tudge, a writer I really enjoy. He’s good at helping us to think in different ways about things that we may have taken for granted. He points out, rather apologetically (good ecologist that he is), that 45 million years ago – when there were conditions somewhat similar to what we might expect if there was run-away global warming – there was lots of heat, lots of moisture, and lots of carbon: ideal conditions, in fact, for life, which proliferated.
In mid-European latitudes there were deciduous tropical rain forests. All the main ‘genera’ of animals that we know today came into being about then. Life, for primeval apes and suchlike, was fantastic.
Which is an interesting perspective on the subject – and one which no-one else seems to have suggested.
Anyway, up on the Tor this weekend it wasn’t particularly warm – though warmer than usual for the back end of November. My neighbours, who I met going up with their camera just as I was coming down with mine, said they had a cano in their back garden, which might come in useful. They were thinking perhaps they could hire it out to tourists.