Saturday, 26 May 2012

It's a drought. Get the umbrellas!

The last time I can remember having the time to sit in the garden on a series of beautiful hot, cloudless days was in 1976 when the sun shone for nearly 2 months and we never thought it would rain again!. A drought was declared and I can remember my wife and I took a week's holiday in Exeter, renting a caravan overlooking a beach. We were in for a fantastic sunbathing few days!
The second night we were there it rained. And rained. And then rained some more, until we could feel the caravan moving with the torrent of water pouring through the caravan park. That day we walked up a street in Exeter to visit a friend of mine in his office and because the road was also a hill the roadway was a waterfall and no cars dared brave it.
We drove up to Barnstaple that afternoon with the rain still beating down and saw the irony of the townspeople whose water supply was rationed having to wade through minor floods to fill up water cans from street stand-pipes and water bowsers.
A couple of days beforehand the Labour government appointed Dennis Howell as Minister for Drought and he actually had one of the few really good ideas a politician has ever had. He was mulling over in his mind that the north od England is awash with water and yet the south always seems to have far too little. The idea of moving excess water to the south was no new concept, but the cost of building the infrastructure and especially buying the land to build the pipe network would have been prohibitive. Mr Howell was passing over the M4 motorway and had the incredibly intelligent idea of running the pipe on the motorway central reservation (already owned by the government) that ran from the very north of England to all parts of the South. Brilliant and exciting. The end to droughts for many years to come.
Then it rained cats and dogs and the idea faded away....
This year this is our third period of really hot weather and by the end of April drought orders were in place around the country and hosepipe bans common-place. Mr Dennis Howell could have solved the problem at a stroke though unfortunately he died in 1999. During his parliamentary career he was Minister for Drought, Minister for Floods and Minister for Snow. Clearly a Man for All Seasons!
It's a drought. Get out the umbrellas!

1 comment:

  1. Hehe! We never get it quite right, do we? Hang on, I do remember thinking that the temperature was just perfect one day, out walking my dog - in Norway - in 1969. :-))