More from my flagging attempts at the National Novel Writing Month Challenge… here, I’m pulling together what i have found out about the River Cam:
And to the river… it begins north-east of Henlow, a small village in Bedfordshire; at one point the girl’s mother, when herself a girl, lived in Bedfordshire in another small village, Pavenham, some twenty miles northwest of Henlow. No doubt Henlow is old, a settlement must have been there from earliest times; its name might have been Henna Hlæw, Hill of Birds, or maybe the Burial Hill of Birds.
The river springs near Henlow, near the Burial Hill of Birds, from the chalky aquifers beneath, and travels in a northerly direction, joined by other waters from other springs coming from either side, from east and from west. The area is chalky, and this porous rock allows rains to continually feed into the river.
However as it flows onwards it passes through a heavy gault clay, overlying what is known as lower greensand sandstone… is there upper greensand sandstone? Middle greensand limestone? Greensand is literally greenish in colour, and if you could look at it closely enough you could see the grains, the glauconies are roundish and green and a mixture of minerals such as smectite and glauconite mica. Greensand is from the shallow seas of many millions of years ago, marine sediment and yes, there are both upper and lower greensand outcrops, and they are where the river flows, along the scarp slopes around the London Basin and in Bedfordshire.
And gault? Gault is a rock formation of stiff blue clay laid down between seventy-nine and one hundred and forty-five million years ago, in a calm, fairly deep-water marine environment… To quote: “The Gault Formation represents a marine transgression following erosion of the Lower Greensand. It is subdivided into two sections, the Upper Gault and the Lower Gault. The Upper Gault onlaps onto the Lower Gault. The Gault Formation thins across the London Platform and then terminates against the Red Chalk just to the south of The Wash.”
Greensand, blue gault, red chalk…
The child had had the experience of all children painting with liquid paint, put all the colours together and you get a sort of brown, the river was brown, maybe it carried the land it had passed through, as maybe everyone does, carrying the land they pass through…