Rachel McLean

Author of Twisted Realities

Walking around London – what would it be like if I was escaping a flood?

This week I’m in the middle of a research trip to London, something I do often as so many of my stories are set here.

I’ve got a packed schedule and a lot of walking to do. I’m writing this on Thursday evening having walked 14 miles since I arrived yesterday morning, and by the time you read this, I’ll probably have walked another seven or eight miles at least.

It’s got me thinking about the poor Dyer family in Thicker Than Water, forced to walk out of London after devastating floods make them homeless, along with millions of other people. My 14 miles is a short stroll compared to that.

Today I went to the part of London where Sonia is living when the floods hit. This is the family home, a small terraced house just south of the Thames in Barnes.

I crossed the river to make my way to their imaginary home via the Hammersmith Bridge:

It was looking pretty bleak today, with the mist that’s been hanging over London. The tide was low when I was there – imagine it with the water lapping at the bridge and that’s what Jess and her family have to contend with.

Both Jess and her brother Ben head to the family home when London finds itself underwater, and Ben takes his future wife Ruth with him.

Sonia’s road is perilously close to the river, meaning the sandbags soon stop working. A shame, as it’s such a nice looking road:

The waters rise, all those cars become undrivable and the Dyer family reluctantly decide to head north. At first, they believe they’ll find a train to get there, but they soon discover that the public transport infrastructure has collapsed.

So they join many thousands of people in walking to find a new home. If you’ve been watching the news in recent years, you’ll know that millions of people have been forced to do the same in real life. It’s a sobering thought.

My next task is to walk the route that Alex takes through central London in Murder In The Multiverse. The challenge is that she’s not in the London I’ll be in, but in a futuristic and high-tech version of London from a parallel universe. So I’ll have to use my imagination. Can’t wait!

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