23 February 2014

Another week – another week of rain. Not quite. We’ve actually had some pretty decent weather this week – a couple of days of bright skies and sunshine and mild temperatures for the time of year. Once again the birdlife have raised their game a notch or two and are singing as if the future of their species depended on it.

Thankfully, those living in the flooded regions are beginning to see the flood waters recede, slowly to be sure, and can now look forward to months and months of clearing up while they wait for their insurance companies to ensure them of their unlimited support while, at the same time, denying that the coverage for damage from floods actually means that they will receive any compensation for damage from floods.

FloodsThe BBC web site had an article on 10 Key Moments of the UK Winter Storms which has some pretty dramatic photographs and video clips along with some interesting statistics.

And, the Huffington Post had a collection of photographs showing how parts of the country have been transformed, as they put it, into “Water World.” And just to confirm what we think we already knew, an article in the Guardian on Friday confirmed that this has been the wettest winter on record. Helpfully, the article went on to say:

And with more unsettled weather on the way, the risk of flooding will be slow to disappear, the Environment Agency warned.

Great!

And finally, Private Eye had an amusing little exchange between Nick Owen, a BBC News host and one of the weather reporters concerning the floods:

“So Elizabeth, why are we experiencing so much flooding?” Nicholas Owen asked BBC Weather presenter Elizabeth Saary on the BBC News channel on 9 February.

“Well, there’s a lot of water about,” came her illuminating reply.

Hmmm.

I ran across an interview in the Guardian a week or so ago with the singer Sheryl Crow who was talking about, amongst other things, her new CD, Feels Like Home. In the article it’s described as her “country music debut” and, since I am a fan of both Sheryl Crow and much “country” music (think Dixie Chicks rather than Hank Williams, for the most part) I thought I would give it a whirl. And I’m glad I did. It’s not 100% brilliant – there are one or two tracks which might have been better left on the editing floor – but it is very enjoyable and fun.

When one thinks of country music I’m sure, like me, you think of a maudlin song about a guy whose wife has left him to run off with his best friend, he’s lost his pickup in the divorce settlement and his loyal and faithful dog has just died having been struck by the pickup truck as the wife and her new boyfriend speed out of town. Well, this album has one such track – Waterproof Mascara – which is a corker! It’s about a single mother whose young son is asking questions such as, “All my friends have daddies, Mommy why don’t I?” Naturally, her thoughts immediately turn to her waterproof mascara – the last line of the chorus is simply priceless!

And so I wear waterproof mascara
There’s things you shouldn’t see when you’re a kid
Thank God they make waterproof mascara
‘Cause it won’t run, like his daddy did.

You can listen to the song yourself below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35inDdP2IOY

In place of a rant, a simple “I told you so” relating to a government claim last October that the increased number of food banks providing support for the desperately poor was the reason behind the increased use of said food banks. (Befouled Weakly News – 20 October 2013). This week the government quietly released an independent report which they have been sitting on since last June which says that families turn to food banks as a last resort ‘not because they are free’. I guess they’ve finally released it now hoping that people would be so distracted by the floods that they wouldn’t notice and recognise that, as usual, the government has been talking absolute b******s.

The report directly contradicts the claim from a government minister that the rise in the use of food banks is linked to the fact that there are now more of them. It says people turn to charity food as a last resort following a crisis such as the loss of a job, or problems accessing social security benefits.

As I said at the time, a lesson in cause and effect might be in order.

And finally, I know that many of you will have been enthralled by the winter Olympics. I have to confess, I am less of a winter Olympic fan in general but no question that some of the events which have been added recently have been great spectator experiences. I am thinking specifically of those events I caught the other day where a group of six or so snowboarders or skiers come down the slope in a head to head race with leaps and jumps and the occasional spills – very exciting stuff. So, naturally I was interested in the Naked Sledding World Championships held recently in Germany and wondered why the Olympics don’t introduce something along these lines. It would certainly be a way to ensure even more television spectators. Those of you who are not my mother can catch some photos and a video here.

I’ve already started the petition to the Olympic organisers.

Love to you all,

Greg