The Paris Floods of 1910

Walking around Paris, you come across inscriptions cut into the stonework of various buildings. This inscription is at about lower chest height and testifies to the flood that Paris suffered in January 1910. The sign reads cru de la Seine, which indicates the level the waters of the river Seine reached on January 25, 1910 when the river burst its banks.

The flood or inondation raised the waters of the river Seine over 25 feet (over 8 metres) above their normal level, and not only flooded the streets but also the then newly constructed Metro – the underground railway system that now covers most of Paris.

As a side note, the metro is built very close to ground level compared to the systems in other cities. Anyone who has travelled down the subway or underground escalators in Washington D.C. or London or Moscow or Lyon knows how long they are and how far down into the earth they travel.

Not so with the Paris metro, where the stations are often just a hop down down a couple of short flights of stairs.

English Bluebells

The Common or English bluebell grows in woods throughout England. It has flowers on one side of the stem only, which causes the stems to lean under the weight of the flowers, in contrast to the Spanish bluebell, which has flowers all around the stem and therefore stands more erect.

Windblown Trees – East Yorkshire, England

Because of the topography of England, there is an artery of roads running north-south, connecting the major cities.

There are fewer roads running east-west but at a few points there are connecting arterial roads, such as between the city of Leeds to the east of the Pennines,and the cities of Machester and Liverpool to the west.

But move away from these arteries and the feel of the countryside is quite different. Here to the north east of Leeds, off the arterial roads and towards the coast, the villages and small roads have an old-fashioned look to them.

There are hedges and fences and buildings and signposts that have an air of being undisturbed. And there is a quality in the light and the style of the buildings that is particular to coastal towns and villages.

Perhaps there are things that the senses take in that one is hardly aware of. Perhaps it is the grasses that grow by the roadside. Perhaps they are cleaner; not coated with the oil of exhaust fumes. Whatever it is, there is a feeling of having stepped out of twenty-first century Britain.

Near this line of windblown trees there is Flamborough Head, a headland that reaches a long finger of cliffs into the north Sea, and just north there is Bempton Cliffs, one of the foremost sites for seabirds in the country where kittiwakes, razorbills, gannets, puffins, and guillemots roost in their tens of thousands.