26th Jul 2007, by Andrew Barr

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

There was a queue at the bowsers at 6am this morning with people moaning that most of them were empty and the lady working at the care home by us was struggling to cope. Meanwhile Andy was trying to resurrect our toilet which is probably best left undiscussed.

I went to see my Nan who has had no working phone since the floods started, no access to water as the bowsers are too far for her to bring anything back and flood water lapping at her door. We had a bit of a joke that she currently resembles Einstein as her hair is sticking out at both sides, she couldn't summon up a theory to explain the flooding though unfortunately but she's working on it.

As I plodded through the pouring rain into work, a helicopter looming over my head and struggling to hold on to my umbrella wondering if I should just ditch it somewhere it occurred to me that I should be possibly using my journey to attach small jars to it's corners so that I could collect some rainwater.

It's amazing how these circumstances have turned out lots of potential new Ray Mears', I've heard everything from separating the drain pipe along the roof in order to run the water into buckets to wash hair to peeing in the cistern in order to flush the toilet. Though possibly the people doing the latter have some issues they need to address once the flooding is over.

Actually having just visited the toilets here at work it took all my efforts not to be sick. There's no word for it. They stink. I am considering popping to Hobbycraft so that I can make myself some kind of gas mask but I know they will be shut.

Both my mum and sister work at different local hospitals. My mum had a heads of department meeting on the corner of the nearest dry roundabout this week because they can't get into the hospital. My sister is traveling to Bristol so that she can wash her uniform and I'm sitting here, soaked to the bone, attempting to catch up on work and feeling that I should somehow feel grateful that we don't live slightly further west of Gloucester or I would no doubt be sat here with something a bit worse than rain water on my trousers.

And whilst I try to maintain the stiff upper lip that is somehow ingrained on me I resent it being relied upon by companies like Severn Trent who this week announced that the floods would not affect their record £300 million profits this year. Forgive me if my upper lip begins to quiver at the news.

You have to wonder how the floods cannot affect the profits since they are providing almost 1000 bowsers, attempting to fill them up 24 hours a day and handing out free bottles of water, the money has to be coming from somewhere. I'm sure I won't be the only one surprised to receive a letter in the near future stating that the water rates have gone up.

Nope, I don't maintain Andy's enthusiasm for Severn Trent at present and think his years working in crisis PR have affected his brain. A company as big and profitable as them didn't have a back up plan? The news states that this is a risk that has been known for months so for sure Severn Trent were aware of it. Given the freak occurrence we can perhaps forgive that they centralised the water treatment center at Mythe with no backups - the shareholders need some profit after all, but surely it's just plain negligent not to consider what could happen if there was a problem at the center.

Or was their back up plan something along the lines of "no problem, we'll just stick a load of bowsers in random places around the county". In which case, they certainly didn't plan it any further than that or indeed calculate how much water people actually need to get through a day because a lot of these bowsers are empty, and have been for some time.

Still, at least Gordie B came to see us and said something along the lines of, "something's got to be done", eh?

gordon brown and the bowsers
Thanks to Lisa Hendry from the Bowser Spotters of Gloucester Group for the photo.

Anyway, I'm off to town to buy some clean underwear. Smell you later.

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