The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Monday, 10 February 2014

Apres Nous, Le Deluge...

On 23 December 2013 I drove our little family (your correspondent, The Husband & the Dog) the 150-or-so miles from mid-Wales to Oxford to spend Christmas with The Daughter, mostly along the A44. It was a hideous journey through driving rain, wheel-arch-deep puddles and streams of run-off almost all the way. After we had got there safely we breathed a huge sight of relief, unpacked our bags and put the presents under the tree.  When we walked around the corner a step or three to go out for a pub dinner that evening, on neighbouring Osney Island in SW Oxford, the tributaries of the Thames which surround the area were sludgy brown, high, fast, fearsomely full and in many places spilling over the banks, which they continued to do well beyond Boxing Day.

A few days later we read with sadness the national news report that a disabled man in his forties in a wheelchair had seemingly got stuck trying to go along a riverside street on Osney Island and couldn't find a way out or back, so that his wheelchair slipped off the treacherously muddy bank into the swollen river and he drowned.

We have had a severe sou'wester rain, wind, sleet and hail storms blowing in off the Atlantic about twice a week ever since. Sometimes they have coincided with high tides, to calamitous effect, as in poor Aberystwyth and Dawlish. The people who live in the Somerset Levels have been in despair for weeks.

And yet only NOW, when it hits the Thames on the affluent suburban outskirts of London, is the flooding such a major issue that BBC News 24 today mentions virtually nothing else except the Winter Olympics. And the cabinet has woken up from its Westminster Dream, the dream where it thinks it has the will and support of the UK people for this hastily-hatched and cobbled together Coalition Government behind it 

If he plays it right, this could be Ed Miliband's finest hour, setting the opposition up nicely for the next General Election.  It's an ill wind...

...if we just get shut of the jelly-jowelled, disdainful pomposity of Eric Pickles it'd be a start.
Perhaps these quotes, all from Eric Pickles over the last week, will help explain my present feelings of personal animosity for the man.  Check this lot out for slippery-slimy;

on World at One, BBC Radio 4

“The Environment Agency has got a lot of stick but I think you have to see the other side of the coin that right the way through from the beginning just before Christmas, that big tidal surge, the Environment Agency has been remarkably good in giving good, accurate information to people and remarkably good I think in terms of preventing more flooding damage than might otherwise have been the case."
on BBC News Channel

"I'm trying to get [in touch with] the Environment Agency to give them some credit for what they've done in the rest of the country and elsewhere. Actually, there will come a time where we may want to apportion blame, we may want to say it was a mistake by the Labour government."
on Andrew Marr

“We made a mistake, there’s no doubt about that, we perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency’s advice. I’ll apologise, I apologise unreservedly and I’m really sorry we took the advice of what we thought we were dealing with experts,"

He needs to eat some raw sewage, with a side order of humble pie, and then resign.


  1. Oh, Pickles is a buffoon and I can't believe anyone made him a minister. As for the news saturation, an awful lot of coalition voters and media people live in the Thames Valley. Cynical - moi?

  2. Bucks, Berks and Surrey (especially big riverside properties and picturesque villages) are the Tory heartland. It's also conveniently placed for the BBC crews! Be as cynical as you like/.

    I wouldn't put Pickles in charge of a public lavatory, but I am afraid the Daily Mail loves his straight-talking Yorkshire bluffness almost as much as they salivate over every word ghastly godawful Gove utters. Extraordinary that the very people who bring you and me out in hives are the big heroes of the Tory rank and file. Yuck!

    1. According to the 10 o'clock news the flooding now runs from Oxford to the outer suburbs of London. That's a LOT of voters!

    2. Who may. now be floating voters in more ways than one, Perpetua. Today it has been announced that he PM has cleared his diary until Thursday to go and see things for himself. I hope he packed his chest waders.

    3. i have a friend in Datchet who saw a swan swimming down her street yesterday, Her house is still dry but only just and it's raining heavily again. Whereas we have snow today!

    4. I have friends in the Thames basin too, between Oxford and Kingston-upon- Thames. The Daughter couldn't use the Abingdon Rd today (not unusual, she says), but made it to Thame area by using the Marston Ferry Road to get to the A40.
      Another friend spent two and a half hours this morning trying to get to his place of work in Surrey and being turned back because no river crossing was available in his area of the Thames basin, with quite a large army presence finally dissuading him from persisting.

  3. I've just discovered your blog through a reader of Perpetua's blog. She mentioned you have a dollhouse, and that I should come have a look at your posts about it. It is a beautiful dollhouse! I just bought a used one for $50 and am hoping to fix it up.

    The flooding in the UK is just horrible. I have been following the stories about it for weeks now, so was very aware of it before it hit the more populated area of the Thames. It will take months for everyone to recover. Last year Alberta had some horrible flooding and they are still rebuilding in places.

    Also, I see you have a Westie. I have one too - his name is Fergus. They are such characters!

  4. Westie? Dolls House? Kristie - we are twins separated at birth!

    Welcome to It Helps Pass The Day. I am Perpetua's baby sister, being eleven years her junior. We are also retired and living in mid-Wales, about five miles away from her and her DH.

    If you do Facebook and want to see more dolls house photos I am Marion Griffin Bulmer on there (the only one with that name), so add me and I'll add you. You can see the stage-by-stage development of the house which we bought in kit form a little less than a year ago. Good luck with your re-furbishments, and prepare to become obsessively addicted to 1 in 12 miniatures!

    The Dog is almost 12. How old is your Fergus?