Chepstow

Flood

FLOODING IN NARROWBRIDGE by Ingrid Artzman

It was early in the morning when Narrowmouth was woken up to the strange roll of thunder. It had to be thunder as they all heard the cracking noise of the lightning strike followed by the deep rumble which seemed to get stronger and stronger like a musical crescendo. But it did not stop; it developed into the howling sound of an autumn storm.

Faced with this strange experience, people came out in their dressing gowns and wellies, staring up the valley, waiting. A gasp went through the crowd as they saw the swollen river spreading either side and coming towards them with the ferocity of a Roman army. A sense of panic set in and some people ran into their houses, slamming the doors behind them and bolting them. Others were rooted to the spot as statues unable to move.

As it reached the narrow village, the houses acted as barriers. The water had nowhere to go. The onlookers experienced the treacherous water lapping up around their boots, getting higher and higher, determined to cause as much havoc as possible.

The water was no longer crystal clear, gently jumping over the stony river bed, clucking away like a chicken. Now it was a mix of browns, blacks and greys, pushing a line of froth like an angry animal foaming at the mouth. Riding on its back were grasses and other rubble, tree trunks and branches, a garden seat upside down, a child’s tricycle, a beehive on its side.

Close on its heel was a syrup of mud, soil and pebbles, sliding with an unstoppable force. Garden gates were forced open, paving stones were lifted from their paths, and any cracks in doors or sheds were invaded.

The stone bridge over Narrowbrook had given way. With the undermining water, came the landslide.

The force of nature had triumphed again.