Friday, 14 February 2014

Victims of the weather and other stuff.

I just threw my umbrella in the bin. That’s the umbrella that I wasn’t sure would survive after its stormy trip to Uppermill the other day, when it blew inside out at least five times. Today’s wind and rain was too much for it. First of all it wouldn’t fold up properly and then the handle just fell apart in my hands. Fortunately, by the time I left the post office the rain had abated somewhat. Thank goodness I had my hat on! 

With rain and floods and reports of various politicians visiting flood victims in the news so much, I suppose it was inevitable that some journalist would come up with an article about wellington boots. Ed Milliband, Labour, wears sensible, no-nonsense, plain black wellies. David Cameron, Conservative Prime Minister, wears more upmarket green wellies; the reporter commented, though, that they appeared pristine and may have been bought specially for the occasion of flood-plain visiting. Nigel Farage, UKIP, wears waders which go half way up his thighs. He’s obviously prepared for a major surge of stuff that shouldn’t be here. Boris Johnson, flamboyant Conservative Mayor of London, wears flashy wellies with a thick red sole. Well, he would, wouldn’t he? 

Who knew that there was such a range, such variety in what the reporter referred to as “humble wellies”? I can remember when they only came in black and they were dirt cheap. Every kid had a pair and you wore them to school on really wet day, getting a red mark on the back of your calves because you wore a skirt or short trousers and your winter uniform long socks didn’t stay up long enough to give you any protection. Not so humble now. They come in all sorts of colours and patterns. (At one time only little kids wore coloured or patterned wellies!) The cheapest bog-standard wellies I’ve seen locally were priced at £30, which is hardly cheap for rubber boots! I blame Kate Moss. Vver since she wore Hunter wellies to a pop festival, it’s OK to charge the moon for them. This patriotic pair sells at a mere £85!!! 
I have read this morning that the amount of rainwater going into the “rías” of Galicia is causing problems for the shellfish sellers. There’s so much fresh water, presumably running off the land, going into the “rías” that the levels of salinity are seriously reduced and the shellfish are dying as a result. Another victim of the weird weather. 

And then there are the, admittedly very few, people who live on the Isla de Ons, one of the islands out in the Atlantic just outside the Pontevedra estuary. They expect to be cut off from time to time during the winter but this winter they’ve been cut off for a fortnight at a time. That’s what you call being isolated! 

I also chanced on a little article suggesting that the heat in the air over Indonesia is somehow contributing to the nasty weather we are experiencing here. I’m almost ready to believe it. This is part of what a friend of mine refers to as the “interconnectedness of everything”. 

Getting back to my outing into the village today, I had an odd little banking contretemps. The ATM in the local co-op was out of service but that should not have been a problem as I remembered that I could get cash from the Post Office. There’s isn’t a hole-in-the-wall machine but a card reader at the counter. I put my card in, told the Post Office chappie how much money I wanted and then discovered it wouldn’t let me have any. The Post Office chappie looked at the card reader and commented, “Oh, it’s a Santander card; that’s why.” Further conversation revealed that, although the Post Office Bank is largely owned by Santander, cards from older Santander accounts, significantly those that used to be Abbey National accounts, are not accepted by the Post Office Bank. That probably rules out a whole lot of Santander customers. And yet, it’s years and years since Santander took over Abbey National. And I sometimes get the impression that they’re taking over everywhere. So why is it hard for me to use the Post Office cash machine? Have they not heard about the “interconnectedness of everything”? 

 It’s enough to make me think about withdrawing all my money and keeping it under the mattress!

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