13 May 2012

Good morning from soggy downtown Byfield. Apparently, it rained pretty much non-stop while we were in the States; it’s been grey, miserable and damp pretty much non-stop since we got home although we did see the sun a few times at the end of the week. No sign of the end of our hosepipe ban, of course. In spite of the floods, we’re still in the midst of the worst drought in 25 years.

To be fair, the water shortage here is caused pretty much in equal parts by the lack of rainfall we’ve had over the past couple of winters but also due to the fact that the water companies have done very little to reduce leaks from the network since privatisation, according to a government report.

Every day, 3.4 billion litres of water leaks from the system, almost a quarter of the entire supply.

The government watchdog, appointed to protect consumer’s interests when the water companies were sold off (and who, admittedly has to tread a fine line balancing the interests of the water companies – £1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders last year – and consumers – highest water bills in history and the earliest introduction of a hosepipe ban ever) has decided that most water companies should not be required to take any measures to reduce their leakage. It’s a great system!

Apart from the weather, our favourite girl, Annabelle, has had a bit of a rough patch this week. She developed a very high fever and, after seeking medical advice, she ended up in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday being treated with antibiotics and a watchful eye. As you can imagine, it’s been tough on her, poor angel, not to mention the effect it has had on the parents and grandparents! She’s home now and thankfully on the mend.

Yesterday we were off to Northampton to participate in the celebrations surrounding Nat and Hannah’s wedding. Nat is Penny’s brother Jeremy’s middle child and he and his childhood sweetheart, Hannah, finally got married. I think they’ve known each other since they were about fourteen, almost half their lives! They were even younger than we were when we first met – I was seventeen (a few months shy of my eighteenth birthday) and Penelope was but sweet sixteen when we first set eyes on one another. Mind you, by the time we were their age we had three kids and a mortgage! Here’s hoping that their marriage is every bit as successful and fulfilling as ours.

We didn’t get to see the Perigee Moon last Saturday – not for lack of trying but rather because the skies in the UK (or, at least in our part of the country) were blanketed with thick, impenetrable cloud making it impossible to see anything. Still, a lot of people around the world did get to see it and I collected a number of photographs from the Interweb to put together the following:


httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbuHMCDav4U&feature=g-upl


Finally, another little video clip: as a small token of appreciation for the hospitality that Sandy and Pam always extend when we visit, I put together a selection of Pam’s photos from the Peter Pan which have adorned her Wednesday Whiners for years. I painstakingly created a DVD for them (and gave one to Mom and Dad and intended to pass them around to Susie and Steph but, of course, forgot to do so) which then singularly failed to play on their or any other DVD player. Fortunately, it played on the computer but I thought some of you might like to enjoy it as well.


httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj6uAqhYphE


And, just to show that Ms Playchute and I scrub up pretty well for a special occasion, here’s one J took at Nat and Hannah’s wedding yesterday. My goodness I’m looking good!


Love to you all,

Greg