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July 23, 2007

Flood tales – the good, the amusing and the downright nasty

Back from hols, can’t face email so here’s a post about the floods in South Warwickshire.

Friday was obviously an interesting day what with all the rain. It quickly became obvious that the village would at some point get cut off. Thankfully we are at the top of a hill and so even though we are on the Stour it would have to rise an awful long way to flood the houses – the roads though were quickly impassable.

So, by 6pm the A3400 was blocked, the A429 and Fosse way were flooded at Halford and Tredington and Shipston was under water. Traffic was not getting in or out. We opened the village hall and put a call out for bedding and got a huge pile of sleeping bags, duvets, pillows and airbeds from people around the village – big thanks to them. We also got donations of food, toothpaste and other necessities.

In the end we had around 50-60 people stranded in the hall. Many were families on their way to holidays that would have to be delayed. Most were pretty fed up or distressed but at least they didn’t have to sleep in the car.

2 amusing parts of the evening. Alan and I drove down to the Stour to tell people about the hall and watched a stagecoach bus drive straight into the flood water and conk out about half way through. Not sure what the driver thought they were doing but I am sure they felt great as the fish swam about their ankles.

I also spoke with a woman from Shipston who was concerned about her home considering the flooding there – I asked where she lived. ‘Watery lane’ she replied – uh oh, not a good sign.

And now the nasty stuff.

We went back to the hall on saturday morning to see how people were to find that someone had come into the hall during the night and stolen a handbag and wallet. Pretty bloody nasty if you ask me. Everyone was very upset about it and I won’t tell you my thoughts on the people who decided to use this opportunity for a bit of petty thievery. Not good.

I also heard from the landlord at the pub that his son had to abandon his car over near Brailes and that he’d been told by the police over the weekend that the car had been broken in to, driven into a ditch and torched.

It was also bad news for a farmer neighbour who has lost somewhere in the region of £10k of crops to flooding as well as the owner of the local farm shop which would have been directly in the path of the Stour floods at the bottom of the hill. I hope to pop down later this week to see what might be done to help them out.

This is all small beer for the people of Tewkesbury, Gloucester and others, but it was all pretty amazing and upsetting at the same time. It will be interesting to see how this weeks rain impacts on things.

February 27, 2007

An angry letter

No apologies for the tone of this open post.

At the weekend our village hall was trashed by a party leaving us with a bill for a conservative estimate of 3k and a fake contact number.

This has upset an awful lot of people, myself included, and probably means we will have to refuse use of the hall for parties of people between the ages of 13 – 20. We just can’t take the risk any more of a minority of idiots creating havoc.

Considering that one of the reasons for investing in the hall as we did was to provide a facility for young people to use the fact that we now have to consider closing our doors to them is the most upsetting part of this.

Quite frankly I am pretty sick of this mindlessness – whether it’s trashing the hall, the kids who smashed the side of my wifes car for kicks or the drunken stupidity of a saturday night in any given town or city.

And don’t think I’ve got it in for the kids! I reserve the same contempt for whoever is dumping washing machines on the verges round our way and for the commuters turning Stoneleigh Road into a tip – sat in the traffic every morning staring at the piles of rubbish thrown out of cars is soul crushing.

There is a connection between our treatment of the environment around us, whether natural or built, and our treatment of each other. The constant demand for respect is only valid if you likewise respect the world, the people and the communities around you.

As for the hall, we have had to close it until repairs can be made. As such we have lost a valuable resource thanks to a few moments of idiocy. Whilst we may be able to claim some elements on insurance, I doubt the entirety of the work will be covered, so we in the village will end up paying for it one way or another.

I doubt the people who enjoyed their riotous saturday evenings entertainment will ever read this but I had to say it.

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