I am wearing waders. Green rubber trousers that reach up to your chest and allow you to wade through water. Fishermen wear them a lot, in order to be able to catch their prey as directly as possible.

In my case, all I want to do is to wade through water in my waders. I am reporting about the most severe floods that have hit Britain in a long time, a vast area along the river Severn is flooded, cities are flooded, gardens, houses, whole streets are hidden under cold, muddy water.

Weeks of relentless rain have made rivers leave their beds and visit people. We drive around, looking for the worst hit spots to report from. We find a house right next to a river, the garden is a water sculpture with the occasional tree sticking out and some shrubs are desperately trying to stay above the surface of the mass of icecold brown water. The cameraman and I ring the doorbell of the badly hit house. From the side of the street everything is dry, only the lower area of the garden is a mess. Funny how easy it is to walk up to peoples houses and contact them. The victims of the floods are surprisingly friendly and patient, they welcome us to report about their lost gardens and washed away possessions.

In the city of Winchester, I am asked by my news team back home in Germany to wade into the water as far and deeply as possible. They want to make the floods look very dramatic. Even more dramatic than they already are. The desire of news to exaggerate and pinpoint is in stark contrast to the English urge to understate and downplay. »No, don’t worry, we’ll manage«, is the answer of people whose kitchens stand four feet under water.

I wade into the flooded street and a swan circles me suspiciously. The cold water clings to my legs and holds me tight. Walking along the street I worry about things that might lurk under water and I am afraid to trip and fall into the extended river. Finally, the report is finished and I can get back out. We need to find a new location for the late night show now. We find a perfect spot, a pub beautifully located right behind a dyke that didn’t do the job it was designed for.

There is another news crew in the area, the Spanish. Their correspondent goes into the pigsty of a flooded farm next to the pub and finishes a piece about pigs – on the side so to speak – a report about pigs that has nothing to do with the floods and is an entirely different news story. Conveniently, the missing piece to camera can be recorded now, although the pigsty is surrounded by flooded buildings. But if you film strategically, nobody can see the floods. It is the opposite of what we normally do for news. We find the extreme and exaggerate a little bit. Here, the Spanish colleague has found the extreme, blocks it out and focuses on the normality instead. Very English indeed.

In the evening, after having sent a live report to my German news station from the flooded English pub, my upset uncle rings me from Germany. He wants to donate money to the publady who he has just seen on telly, showing us around in her flooded bar. I calm him down. »Don’t worry«, I say, »she’ll manage«.

rain in film (
another rain movie (
rain can change your life (


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