Wednesday, 17 June 2020

On u-turns, awareness and odd reversals.

Odd things went on yesterday.

The question of providing meals for disadvantaged children during the school holidays had been batting backwards and forwards for a few days. It was announced in a briefing that free school meals were not usually provided during the summer holidays and therefore would not be provided this year. But the young footballer Marcus Rashford, himself a recipient of free school meals in his childhood I understand, had written a letter and begun a campaign. And as I typed yesterday’s blog I heard on the radio news that the government had done a u-turn. Vouchers would be provided for families whose children qualified for free school meals. Hurrah for joint action to get things done.

Later in the day, however, I heard our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, say that he had only become aware of Marcus Rashford’s campaign on free school meals “very, very recently in fact, today”. Really!? I know he’s a busy man. He has newspaper columns to write and a country to run. But Marcus Rashford’s campaign was pretty well publicised. And Mr Johnson has advisers to keep him aware of stuff that is going on. Or do they hide from him things that might be upsetting or contrary to his ideas and decisions? What else that is going on is he unaware of?

That was the governmental oddity that went on yesterday.

Then there was the weather.

We had a very nice day on the whole. A friend of mine commented that people queueing outside Primark would be getting wet as it was raining. Raining? Not here it wasn’t. In the late afternoon we went out for a walk, taking our waterproofs with us as the cloud cover had come over and storms were forecast. By the time we got back - not rained on - the sky was clear again.

Then my daughter sent pictures of hailstones and heavy rain battering her windows in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne. Our granddaughter reported a few big stormy raindrops in Mossley, a little closer to us. We still had blue sky.

And the Manchester Evening News put this out:

“Thunderstorms have wrecked (sic) havoc on the roads in Greater Manchester tonight. Intermittent torrential downpours throughout the afternoon and early evening have caused flash flooding in many places.

Several major routes have become impassable or there are now long delays after they were left with several inches of water. That includes two of the region's major motorways with motorists being warned to take lots of extra care and caution and ensure they "drive to the conditions."

A lane of the M60 has been closed from clockwise from junction 27, the Portwood Roundabout to junction one, Stockport, due to flooding in the carriageway which is causing queues.”

Oddly enough Delph did not get those rainstorms. A little bit of distant thunder rumbled around. Havoc was not wrecked, or even wreaked, around here.

Later the Manchester Evening News also published this:

“A new record has been broken as thunder, lightning and heavy rain batter Greater Manchester.

In Oldham, a record-breaking 22.4mm of rain fell within 60 minutes on Tuesday (June 16) afternoon. The data was recorded by Oldham Weather, in the Chadderton area of the borough. Previously the most rain to fall in the area was 21.6mm on November 21 back in 2016.”

That was in the very early evening. We still had no rain at that point. The promised torrential downpour didn’t come until quite late in the evening. How odd! As a rule it can be brilliantly sunny in central Manchester, a bit cloudy in Oldham and pouring with rain in Delph. It’s our proximity to the foothills of the Pennines that does it. But everything was back to front yesterday. People were talking about it in queues at market stalls in Uppermill this morning.

Today began fine and sunny but more storms are forecast. I need to check up on this and decide whether or not I plan to cycle to my granddaughter’s. We shall see.

 Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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