I have long and often expressed the opinion that if ever I am involved in a major catastrophe I do not want to be visited by the Prime Minister, a member of the royal family or any other kind of dignitary. So I can fully understand the reaction of people in Stainsforth in South Yorkshirea when Boris Johnson turned up in their village, days after the flood. After all, he had told everyone that this did not constitute a national emergency.
“Locals tore into Tory promises of cash aid after insisting recent pledges have come to nothing.“He hasn’t done anything for us. It’s a good job he didn’t come because I would have said, ‘Get on your bike.’”
The PM promised relief funding of £500 for each affected home and up to £2,500 for small businesses.
But he refused to apologise to those devastated by the flooding. Mr Johnson said: “I made clear that the Government stands ready to support in any way we can.””
I’m not sure that £500 would go far towards fixing a flooded home. Neither am I sure what they want Boris Johnson to apologise for: if it’s his slow and feeble response, I quite agree that he should apologise. If, on the other hand, he is expected to apologise for the floods, then I think people are giving him credit for too great a superpower!
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the devastation in poor flooded Venice. More rain is forecast for the rain-soaked bits of the UK.I don’t know what the situation is for Venice. The photos I see on weather reports of the trajectory of the jet stream do not bode well.
Here we have showers and cloud and a bitingly cold wind. Not the sort of weather to make you feel like going out and about.
Yesterday, while the sun shone on us for a while, we went out and tidied the garden, mostly raking up the masses of wet leaves covering the grass. We really should not have bothered. This morning I looked out and there were almost as many leaves again all over the grass!! The myth of Sisyphus springs to mind.
The other day, as I waited for a friend at Piccadilly station I heard an announcement over the public address system: “Would the owner of the black suitcase abandoned outside Sainsbury’s please return to his suitcase. Unaccompanied suitcases are liable to be taken away and destroyed.”
I don’t know if the owner turned up but I was reminded of the story from last month of a man who found a violin abandoned on a train. It turned out to be a 310-year-old violin, worth £250,000. The owner was tired after a long day recording Abbey Road studies and got off the train, leaving it behind. The chap who found it was initially treated as a suspect - suspected of taking advantage of someone else’s tiredness-induced forgetfulness? - and was afraid he might be arrested when he went to give it back. I hope they gave him a reward.
I try to imagine walking around with anything worth £250,000. Surely you would want to have it chained to your wrist to avoid the possibility of loss or theft!!