Monday, July 23, 2007

What did you do in the flood, Daddy?

I feel like an Old Testament Egyptian today. As has been widely publicised on the UK media all Borsetshire, normally a landlocked county somewhere near the centre of Dear Old Blighty, is suddenly underwater. In some places as much as 2m of unanticipated and unaccustomed moisture that has spilled out of the local watercourses, is making of itself a most unwelcome houseguest.

Fortunately not so at Jest Acres. It pays to live at the top rather than the bottom of the hill you see. Although even we were not immune to the effects of a vast tonnage of wet stuff invading the local electricity substation and making for a brief though undoubtedly lively firework display before plunging half the county into stygian gloom, in our case for about seven hours, on Friday night.

All weekend we have been hearing of friends and acquaintances who have been much less fortunate, forced as they were to spend a night in a local community centre, or in a couple of cases stranded roadside in a coach. There was news on the radio this morning of one poor lady who ended up giving birth in a caravan on the Motorway, with the help of the woman from the car behind who happened to be a midwife.

What has been really interesting in all the attendant chaos and disruption, has been the tone and content of the reportage. We are constantly reminded by reporters, none of whom are old enough, of the evocation present rescue activities raise of the "Dunkirk Spirit", almost as though the present act of a very Old Testament Vengeful God can be likened to the tramping through Europe of the Feldgrau clad hordes of a malignant, and arguably clinically insane, megalomaniac.

I freely admit to having been very fortunate in that I was not called on to travel to or from work last Friday, and so was spared the indignity of having to abandon the car and wade through sludge. But for those that were, and for those still unable to return home as a result either of flooded roads or houses, the threat posed by the current unseasonal monsoon and it's aftermath, is in no sense as real or as enduring as that posed to the entire nation and its way of life over sixty years ago. To continue to use such lazy journalistic hyperbole dishonours the memory of the generation that endured Dunkirk and the long grey years of fear and terror that followed.

This is in no way intended to belittle the impact of what are fast emerging to be the worst floods in living memory, on the communities worst affected. They are entirely desrving of recognition for their present day fortitude and forebearance. Likewise the emeregency services and their armed forces colleagues who have stepped up to offer vital support to those most in need of rescue in such trying circumstances deserve a more relevant and more contemporary recognition than to hark back more than sixty years for our exemplars.

Also, it would really help if the Beardy Man Upstairs would turn the taps off now.


orchidea said...

Am reading with particular horror of the deluge in the UK because ours - in 2005 - is still fresh in my memory. I, like you, live on a hill and was spared the worst. It was my little man's birthday, therefore particularly memorable. School was closed and in absence of power, we lit the candles and scoffed his whole birthday cake (chocolate) for breakfast. It would have spoiled otherwise. ;)

I hope things brighten up for you soon.

Z said...

It was those pagans and their rain dance at Cerne Abbas.

Quite dry in Norfolk, you'll be pleased to know.

Doctor Jest said...

orchidea-- thanks for the good thoughts. The happy news is the waters appear to have peaked yesterday and are now on the way down. Much of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in particular remain under a large volume of water and the cleanup is still some days away, but there is no real monsoon style rain forecast now so it seems we hae truly passed the high water mark for now. And today, doubtless thanks to your intercession, we could again see the horizon from our own little eyrie. All in all things do seem to be looking up.

I'm now lost in a reverie around a Swiss Chocolate Birthday Cake however, and this might take more getting over than the flood!

Terrible thing envy.

z-- Hope Norfolk is still dry and will remain so. I know you folks have had more than your fair share earlier this year...

stitchwort said...

All those people paddling about in dilute sewage - anyone mentioned the health hazard?

Not to mention the drowned farm animals, so I won't.

Doctor Jest said...

stitcwort-- and apparently we all need to start stockpiling spuds and peas, but don't tell anyone I said so. I don't want to be had up in front of the beak for sedition or assisting the enemy...