Tewkesbury Pub a Refuge in England's Floods Much of central and western England is under water after heavy rains. Tewkesbury has been cut off since the Avon and the Severn rivers burst their banks. Dawn Harding, proprietor of The Anchor, a pub in the center of Tewkesbury, spoke with Steve Inskeep.
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Tewkesbury Pub a Refuge in England's Floods

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Tewkesbury Pub a Refuge in England's Floods

Tewkesbury Pub a Refuge in England's Floods

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

We're going now to Dawn Harding, the proprietor of The Anchor, which is a pub in the center of Tewkesbury. Welcome to the program.

DAWN HARDING: Hi.

INSKEEP: Sounds like you need an anchor to keep from drifting downriver.

HARDING: Yes, we do. We definitely do.

INSKEEP: Is the pub above water?

HARDING: It is. The cellar is not, but the pub is.

INSKEEP: So the cellar is full of water, but upstairs is okay. And I assume plenty of very wet people have happened by for a drink.

HARDING: Yeah. Today we're actually officially closed because we have no water for up to two weeks now. What's happened is the main treatment center has now gone underwater, so we've got sewage floating in the rivers. So we're not able to use the water. We've actually got barrels and water being delivered to us just for drinking purposes.

INSKEEP: But you've had to be closed today?

HARDING: Yeah, as of today, and we're not sure, you know, it could be up to two weeks before anybody gets any water now.

INSKEEP: Although, if I listen carefully on the phone line, it sounds like there are people in the...

HARDING: I've been taking in people who can't get home. They're stranded because the roads are all blocked in. We're on actually an island at the moment. So I have people staying here. It's dropped from 60 on Friday night. It's literally now down to, you know, anybody who needs it.

INSKEEP: When you say that you're an island, I have to say I'm looking at a photograph of Tewkesbury and of this beautiful Abbey, a huge 12th century church, gorgeous architecture there, a pretty little town. But the neighborhood is underwater. I mean, everything is underwater. I don't see the island, either.

HARDING: We're definitely cut off from all angles now.

INSKEEP: Now you said that there wasn't enough water for you to open for business. Is there enough water for the people who are staying there?

HARDING: Yes, they're bringing trucks to deliver us water for us to drink. But obviously toilets, things like that, you know, we can't shower. We can't do the day-to-day running of things.

INSKEEP: How's everybody's mood?

HARDING: Good. Everybody is buckled down, you know, everybody is helping everybody. I've been doing soup and sandwiches for people. There's people taking people in that can't go home. Everybody is just pulling together as a community.

INSKEEP: Can you give me an idea of what kind of a community Tewkesbury is when it's not underwater?

HARDING: We're a very small town; we're well known to be a very friendly town. We have a lot of tourists in the town from all parts of the world. It's just a lovely little community town, and I think this is what's made us all hold together is that fact that we are close knit.

INSKEEP: Were there tourists who got stranded there?

HARDING: Yes, there has been lots and lots. There's cars all left on the roads and motorways. They just start to abandon them and be put up where anybody can help them.

INSKEEP: So what's the weather like now?

HARDING: It's a lovely sunny day and they're saying it's going to be one of the best days of the week. But we've got rain in for tomorrow.

INSKEEP: And, of course, the question is always what's happening upstream as well.

HARDING: That's correct. Gloucester, at the moment, is worse now than what we are. It just reached (unintelligible) levels. They're saying (unintelligible) two inches short of bursting the banks in Gloucester.

INSKEEP: And that's upriver from you, so that water is heading down.

HARDING: Yes. And also we have the water coming down from Wales. So depending on who gets the most water, Tewkesbury being the lowest lie just tends to catch what's falling down.

INSKEEP: Are you saying it could get worse?

HARDING: If we get more rain, yes.

INSKEEP: Has anybody given you an idea when you might be past this?

HARDING: At the moment they're saying it's peaked and we're holding our own. We just don't want anybody else's water now.

INSKEEP: You should put up a sign.

HARDING: Yeah, please keep your own water.

INSKEEP: Dawn Harding is the proprietor of The Anchor, a pub in the center of Tewkesbury, a town northwest of London which has been severely affected by floodwaters.

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