Archive for July, 2007

Enough is enough

July 26, 2007

Thanks for your e-mails etc in response to my query as to whether a petition against building on flood plain would be worthwhile. 

To express your dismay at the governments failure to rule out building on flood plain (full story here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6911119.stm ) simply post a comment starting “Stop building on flood plains now!” here, I’ll collate them and, hopefully, if we get enough comments get them passed over to local MP’s etc.

This blog has taken off a lot faster than I expected, so feel free to pass on link to everyone you know and get them to add their comments etc

Enough is enough

Helpful tip of the day

July 26, 2007

Have to admit I’ve stolen this from BBC Radio Gloucestershire – why not club together with friends, family etc hire a hotel room just outside Glos (i.e. with running water) for the night – 15 mins each = 4 people per hour = 30 clean people for about £2 each.  Hoteliers I apologise in advance…

Let me know if anyone tries it and how many people utilised the facilities!

Panic, panic, panic – thank you BBC News

July 25, 2007

Once again some fantastically well considered and responsible journalism from the BBC tonight.

I’ve been in Gloucester with no water for three full days now and as my previous posts today illustrate things seemed to be settling down.  It’s now 10.09pm and I’m genuinely worried/annoyed.

BBC News at Ten has successfully managed to scare me – convincing me that I am doomed.  They sent reporters round testing bowsers and found 10 empty – something us Gloucester residents are getting used to.  The tone of terror however is not at all helpful in the current climate.  If I (a 28 year old male) am worried imagine what are elderly locals  thinking watching this scaremongering report.

Yes- bowsers are regularly empty, yes – visiting supermarkets for daily free supplies is hellish BUT water is on sale on supermarket shelves, neighbours are checking on vulnerable neighbours – Bristol is just 20 minutes away! (unfortunately)  The lack of water is becoming a real pain but we are not yet facing 350,000 people completely dehydrating. 

Meanwhile, in China some 100 million people are facing a truly horrific flooding experience – over 400 have been reported dead http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.china24jul24,0,1068156.story

Severn Trent, the local water company in Gloucester have reassured shareholders that the flooding won’t affect profits on the same day that they have pleaded for government assistance – “They’ve got to have a bit of bubbly the shareholders”

As the flood water begins to (very gradually) go down the new Gloucestershire county sport of stick or poo has been replaced by a game of pass the blame – the Environment Agency have got it, Severn Trent have got it, no wait Brown’s got it, doh dropped it…

About that offer…

July 25, 2007

About that offer…

Photo of houses half a mile from us (on Monday). 

An area a mile away, a designated flood plain, is lined up for a similar housing development – clearly something needs to be done to stop this happening.  I’m considering starting an online petition against building on such land – let me know your thoughts and if there’s enough support/comments I’ll get one started asap.

Every little helps

July 25, 2007

Today we paid our first visit to the supermarket water station.  After yesterday’s televised chaos, those issuing the water seemed to be taking a more cautious approach giving us just 6 x 1.5 litre bottles (as opposed to the 2 x trays of 12 each yesterday).  So, we had to go to the main supermarket to buy some extra water – cue unneccessary staff interference.

My pregnant girlfriend had a 5 litre bottle snatched from her hands by a member of Tesco staff who went on to reprimand her for taking more than the 12 litres allowed…nice.  No signs anywhere to let us know there was a limit but who needs signs when you’ve got overly aggressive staff.

Meanwhile in Longford and Longlevens,  rumours of looting are spreading.  On the plus side Cash Converters have got some new stock in.

The bowsers seem to have more water in today.  I expected tempers to be fraying by now but everyone seems to have just got used to the water situation.  Neighbours have knocked on the door for the first time since we moved in (18 months ago!) and most people, tesco staff excluded, are keen to help. 

Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

Current water count

July 24, 2007

…down to 40 litres – sounds like a lot but soon goes.  Had to resort to drinking Cider instead of water – you’ve just got to do what you can…   

The three bowsers near here are empty, rumours they will be filled within next hour or so.  All supermarkets are out of the stuff for sale but emergency rations being dished out at supermarkets if you want to spend your evening queuing, only allowed two cases per household.

Limited ourselves to about 2 litres today including a wash, two teas, washing up etc.  Had to use rainwater for the cistern… girlfriend is loving it as much as she loves camping and festivals.

Meanwhile in the seemingly abandoned village of Sandhurst, my parents have been given a two litre bottle as their household allowance – not even enough for…

Water, water everywhere… except in the taps

July 24, 2007

Water at the end of our road

The water at the end of our road – stretches for almost a mile to the river – passable only by boat but luckily a (closed) bypass separates it from us.

Ain’t got no…

July 24, 2007

…no water, no electric, no bread, or no milk, ain’t got no batteries… but we’ve got chips!  (to paraphrase Nina Simone). 

5pm –  23rd July 2007

Tesco, the Co-op and the BP garage have all fallen foul of the floods but the neighbouring fish and chip shop refuses, like its hefty regulars, to give up.  The queue snakes out of the door and past the out of order cashpoint as residents wait eagerly for their TV-less dinners.  I’m in Longlevens, a short walk from my, thankfully dry, house – others haven’t been so lucky.  Those living a few hundred metres away (around 2 miles from the River Severn) have been hit for the second time in a month, their houses engulfed by water from a near-by brook.  As I walk over a bridge the offending water looks less aggressive than it has been in previous days, ruling out another game of stick or poo. 

The scene in general is bizarre, it’s early on a mid-summer Monday evening yet those unfortunate to live in a GL postcode are adapting to a festival lifestyle.  Unfortunately, there are no headline acts or dance tents, just a lack of reasonably priced water, random ejits ruining it for everyone else and toilets that can’t be flushed.  The water went sometime between midnight and 6am this morning whilst the electric decided to join in the fun at about 6.30am.  I’m one of 43,000 households (affecting as many people as Wembley stadium can hold) without electricity and one of 350,000 people (that’s over 4 wembley stadiums full) without water – I’m one (that’s as many people as attend Gloucester City’s stadium) unhappy bunny – and this is expected to last for up to two weeks.

I am, however, luckier than some.  Not that this is a competition, but my parents are unfortunate enough to live in Sandhurst one of the worst hit areas. The village (just two miles from Gloucester City Centre) is literally submerged.  Residents have been unable to get out since Saturday afternoon, once the worst of the water from Worcestershire hit them.  My dad, acting like a true yocal mentalist, has been wading through waist high water for quarter of a mile, then getting a lift by tractor to the bottom of a hill, making his way over the hill by foot, getting in to his parked up 4×4 the other side of the hill and driving to designated water points to get supplies for himself and the surrounding row of 12-15 houses – a bit like James Bond…in wellies and with a thick Gloucester accent.

Seeing people walking from their homes with pots and pans, buckets and other vessels to blue water stations or Bowsers is strange.  At the moment everyone, especially kids are, to a certain extent, enjoying the novelty factor but that will soon wear off.  Water has to be boiled before drinking, helpful for those with no electric…  A day or two of this would be fine a week will be a struggle, a fortnight a living nightmare.

Life without water means washing in a sink as the bath is full of water (filled up before the taps went dry); it means cooking using the gas oven rather than boiling pasta, potatoes or rice(if you’re lucky enough to have gas); washing up is also testing and toilets well – I’ll leave that to your imagination. 

Needless to say work is off for most people today, the roads are still recovering, Gloucester is inaccessible from the West i.e. completely cut off from the Forest of Dean (what do you mean not a bad thing!)  My girlfriend, in Brussels this weekend has arrived back in the country has decided to crash in London for the night – no water when four-and-a-half months pregnant is possibly not a good move.

So I have an early night ahead of me – a night by the wireless listening for updates, unless the batteries go.  Phone lines are down in part of Longlevens and my mobile battery is about to die, happy days. 

Our Water supply

July 24, 2007

Water Bowsers

Here’s a pic of Gloucester’s current water supply.  At first glance I thought the guy in red was using unorthodox methods to fill the bowser.