The Wandle at Butterhill Bridge

Pretty little river... yet below this ancient bridge the Wandle is now just a couple of inches deep


First published as a shortened version in the Redstone Review, July 2006

Here on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, there's a saying that when America sneezes, the rest of the world eventually catches the same sort of cold.

Usually, we reckon that's enough of a cliché that you can afford to ignore it at least half the time. Then again, a little local cliché doesn't grow up to be big, strong and international without regular, nutritious snacks of truth. So it's hard to argue with this one in the context of Reality TV (degrading or democratic? discuss), the War on Terror (ditto) or, for the purposes of this discussion, Drought.

In this case, I've been reading too many American articles over the past couple of years, and talking with too many Americans about too little rain in some places, and too much in not many others, to leave any doubt in my mind that we'd soon end up in a dustbowl on this side of the Atlantic as well.

That's nothing to do with carefully studying global weather systems: it's just tracking out a pattern of pure logic. So now, where we live in the south-east of England, it's official. We've got Drought.

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