VIDEO: Welney flooding: ‘You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy’
- Credit: Harry Rutter
Asked to provide the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show with a report on flooding at Welney, the Editor took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his trousers and waded in.
You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy as I discovered on a mid morning paddle in the Fens.
With shoes and socks discarded, trousers turned up and a beautiful sunny day it was perfect for dipping toes into the balmy waters of Welney-on-Sea.
A number of day trippers, and some villagers, joined me to watch their children splash around in their wellies or their dog retrieve a stick thrown into the glistening waters.
Welney, for today at least and probably for a few more days, is all at sea with the half mile stretch of the A1101 through the Washes closed as water levels continue to rise.
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There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of drivers being foolish (or brave) enough to try and navigate their way through and a submerged car, visible from the Lamb and Flag end, tangible proof, m’lord, of those that didn’t quite make it.
Ignoring warning signs (of which there are many) doesn’t seem to deter some who, consumed one can only think by a rare form of Fen Blow, attempt to plough their 4x4s or even Mondeos through the treacherous and winding road.
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Stoic villagers are mostly resigned to the fact the road will close for a brief period at least once a year (this is the second time this year) and there is an occasional resurgence of the campaign to raise the level of the road a few feet to prevent it happening again.
The flood ‘summit’ hosted three years ago by Government minister and local MP Liz Truss has long been forgotten and with no visible inclination of the estimated £5 million cost being found anytime soon, Project Welney will probably remain buried within the archives of some ministry outpost.
So Welney is, quite simply, what Welney is: a village where, unusually, a plethora of ‘for sale’ boards have suddenly sprung and where the occasional closure of the A1101, and the resultant 20,30 or 35 detour, is a way of life.
It’s not seemingly an issue for many villagers (one suspects the landlord of the Lamb and Flag has his accountant factor it into his annual profit forecast) and as for the rest it’s little more than a troublesome irritant, a minor inconvenience and at the end of the day likely to be a small price to pay for living in such an idyllic spot.
And, of course, it’s where the seaside comes, just occasionally, to you.