Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Thinking about floods!

I have a very lightweight running waterproof. It really only serves for light drizzle. Anything else and I am pretty soon soaked through as if I wore no waterproof at all. Just about the only thing in its favour is that it is small and light enough to scrunch up into a ball and fit into my bumbag. So this morning, running to the market at Uppermill, I opted for my hiking waterproof, still lightweight, still with the ability to wick away sweat and so on, but actually good at keeping the rain off the person wearing it. And there was rain as I was getting up so I wanted proper protection in case I ended up standing at a bus stop with my market shopping for my homeward journey.

In the event it was damp and cold but not actually raining. I did get rather damp feet running along the rather puddle-full Donkey Line bridle path but even with damp feet a bridle path is preferable to a road with traffic. I must not have run fast enough, however, as my Fitbit tells me that this morning’s exercise constitutes a walk rather than a run. A tiny machine with opinions!

Having done my shopping, I was just in time for a bus home. I had missed an earlier one but that dod not really matter as it was the bus that goes round just about every village in the area. As I waited for the bus I got into conversation, as you do, with another would-be passenger. I have a sort of friendship with his wife, the kind where you have chatted so often on the bus that you are usually quite glad to see each other but each has no idea what the other is called. His wife wasn’t with him and I am pretty sure he did not recognise me at all. We chatted about the weather. We are British after all, and besides almost every casual conversation at the moment involves moaning about the rain or commenting, as did my bus stop companion, “At least it’s not raining!”. Not long afterwards came, “At least we are not flooded!” Fair comment.

I was talking floods with a friend from my Italian class yesterday afternoon, as we strolled down the road, having already gone beyond “At least it’s not raining!” After all the usual comments about the horrors of flooding - the mess, the time it takes to sort it, the persistent smell, the ruined belongings, the sharp increase in price of house insurance, if you can still get it - she said, “For me, one of the worst things would be not being able to get clean clothes, especially clean knickers!” And I quite agree with her. Of course, having to flee your home for whatever reason, flood, fire, volcanic eruption, war or invasion, brings a lot worse things to worry about, but being left with only the clothes you stand up in and little proper chance of feeling clean and fresh again must simply make everything harder to bear.

On the television news last night they were discussing the aid going to the flooded parts of the country, the PM having belatedly decided that this was a bit of an emergency after all. As the helicopter flew over bits of very wet Yorkshire filming vast areas of flood water, the commentator pointed out that small village communities and farms are suffering the worst of it all and receiving the least aid. Apparently aid is allocated mostly according to how many people will benefit from that aid. So cities and towns fare better than small communities, which seems most unfair. And today’s news says that some of those small villages may well be completely cut off for days by floodwater. Some people have agreed to be evacuated but not all. Some are stubbornly staying put. It is to be hoped that they have supplies but I wonder how they will get on for electricity and heating. It’ll get pretty cold sitting in the upstairs rooms of a flooded house in mid-November.

Meanwhile, Venice too is having flooding problems. “The mayor of Venice is poised to declare a state of emergency after the city was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years, with another surge expected to cause further widespread flooding and destruction on Wednesday.
Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which reached 1.87 metres late on Tuesday night amid heavy rain, just short of the record 1.94 metres (78 in) recorded in 1966.
St Mark’s Square was submerged by more than one metre of water, while the adjacent St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years – but the fourth in the last two decades. The last occasion, in November 2018, caused an estimated €2.2m (£1.9m) of damage.”

The Venetians are used to dealing with “acqua alta” but they must be beginning wonder if they will survive it all. Once again I am glad our house is high enough up to avoid flooing problems.

No comments:

Post a Comment