Saturday, 30 November 2013

The tide was very low today...

Well, not today - actually it was a month or so ago, but there was so much to say at the time that I didn't get around to publishing this post.

I arrive at work that day to discover that the lake was - well, not quite "empty" but as low as I had ever seen it. Just look:

That's fairly horrible, isn't it? That collection of stones is The Small Island and is normally, well, an island... so you can see that it's not a particularly deep lake, but it's unnatural for a lake to be showing its muddy bottom!

Here's the back of the Big Island - every so often I have to put the waders on, stagger across the channel and weed it.

On this day, it almost looked as though I could just walk across, if I didn't mind climbing up the  mangrove roots once I got there:

And no, I didn't attempt to splash across - I know from experience that the mud is at least ankle deep, so I wear chest-height waders and take an old broom handle for balance. Actually, I think I have a picture of me in the waders, hang on, I'll go and find it:

*rummages around in picture files*

There you are, that's me, the waders, and the broom handle, staggering around thinning out the Reed Mace, the spring before last.

That's a job which deserves a post all to itself - the horrors of fumbling around barehanded, under the muddy water, pulling at slimy Reed Mace roots, not quite knowing what living things are slipping around my fingers..


But it  has to be done, otherwise the Reed Mace will take over the entire lake, which is - in fact - what they are trying to do this year. But that's another story. As you can see, I'm well above the knees in water, and I can tell you that I was well above the ankles in mud, hence the need for the balancing broom handle!

This is the view from the same angle during Low Tide - as you can see, the mud is now showing:

But it's still pretty...

And the reason for all this distress?

It's quite complicated, but it all has to do with Thames Water - yes, those villains, sigh - and the incorrectly-set automatic measurement points, lower down the stream. Which made them think that the water level up here, in the lake, was "correct".

We think not!

However, after a week of complaining to them, and several visits from their inspectors, they agreed that the level was too low ("Well, duuh!") and finally started pumping water through again.

At 11.30 exactly, I heard the welcome sound of water trickling, and the lake started to refill.

And the following week, I was delighted to find it once more fully full, if you see what I mean, and had the joy of working to the usual gentle splashing of it going  out, over the weir.

The Kingfisher was back, happily doing his Blue Flash impersonation up and down the lake: the ducks were back, quacking and quarrelling as they do: now we have to wait and see if the voles will come back or not.

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