On my way to the harbour, the skipping chant gets louder; I pause to listen.
‘Viking, Utsire - North and South
Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne.’
The names have lost their meaning now…there is too much water, and weather patterns continue to become ever more unpredictable.
‘Dogger, Fisher, German Blight.’
I can’t help smiling. As a child, I thought that a dogger must be someone like old Tom, his hunting hounds running at his heel…and I used to feel scared in case I caught German Blight; was it like marsh fever, which struck suddenly and fatally?
‘Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight.’
The estuaries were swallowed up in the rising waters and London disappeared before I was born, when even the newest Thames barrier proved insufficient. Vast swathes of prime agricultural land were lost from Norfolk at the same time; the latest genetic crop variants are still unable to tolerate the salt-poisoned fields, but we live in hope.
There's an elephant called Trafalgar in Twycross Zoo - the only one to survive the flood of 2078.
Perhaps, one day, the waters will recede and we can reclaim something of what has been drowned. They used to build dykes in Holland…we can build them again.
‘Fastnet, Irish Sea,
Shannon, Rockall, Malin,
This was once a fair isle indeed if you believe the archives. I’ve pored over all the pictures; The White Cliffs, the Broads, Westminster…so much lost to us.
‘Faeroes, Southeast I-celand.’
As the chant ends and is replaced by laughter, I heft my camera higher on my shoulder and prepare to board.
They call my job ‘Reconnaissance’; a fancy way to say I record the appetite of the water, noting where it’s nibbled the rocks or taken fresh bites of softer sandstone.
Eating my world.