I wrote about a flooded world. I imagined the rising seas. I also envisioned high rainfall and flooded river valleys. But this wasn’t meant to be today. My book is set in the future – a future beset by climate change – a Cli_Fi story where flooding is the norm.
I talked to my readers at signings and talks about the areas most at risk. I talked about the fenlands around Cambridge where some of the action in Red Rock is set – a future flooded Cambridge of tidal mudflats and buildings that become as islands. I also talked about another wetland region, closer to my home – the Somerset Levels - about the island that Glastonbury could once again become.
But for those poor people who inhabit that region all my talk of floods could well be hitting a bit of a raw nerve. For weeks now many roads have been impassable, whole communities cut off. A “major incident” has been declared. For the people who live there – this is no fantasy. This is very real, and very unwelcome.
I walked down the lane that led to through the village where I live not long after the rain had stopped – a brief window before the next front moved in. The fields were seeping, ditches overflowing, water streaming across the road.
Further on water was bubbling up through the drains, or from newly formed cracks in the tarmac – too much groundwater for the earth to hold, and the road and the river were indistinguishable. The fields to either side had become lakes, a welcome find for a flock of geese and a few ducks.
Soon we were wading, too deep for out wellingtons, and we turned back to higher ground.
Is what we are seeing the first indications of an overall trend towards more rainfall and more extreme weather, or is it just part of a natural cycle? Only time will tell.