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Monday, December 22, 2014

 

Wild and wet 2007

Well that was a hairy couple of days. I mean the rain fell so hard around here that it might have made your head bleed. Good job I was wearing a hat, then. Street patrols got pulled Friday and Saturday because the Roads were more like rivers and the rivers more like tide races.

I saw the weather front coming in on Thursday evening while walking the dog; ait first made it's entrance as a thick band of musclebound cloud followed by a solid sheet of dark grey decorated only with far off lightning flashes. Double timed it home and battened down the hatches just as the first heavy rain hit. Dog went and hid in a corner, poor mutt. I gave myself a stiff whiskey and an early night.

At work on Friday we busied ourselves shooing people out of the levels of car parks that were threatening to become lakes. This didn’t stop one guy deliberately moving the cones we had used to block off the affected car park and getting stuck in the rising waters. Silly bastard. Four or five other cars just sat there as the waters rose, leaving them stranded up to their wheel arches, their owners fuming quietly in the downpour. A number of the guys, including me, were sent home early because otherwise we wouldn’t have got home at all on Friday. All this and the last day of School run insanity.

At home water started seeping under the front door and into the cellar, threatening to soak the electricity meters and blow our power supply, so I spent a while making an improvised seal with a few tea towels and stood duty with a mop and bucket. Fortunately our cellar didn’t flood, but one of our neighbours wasn’t so lucky, as far as I know he’s still bailing, and his cellar had supposedly been sealed against this sort of thing. From the sound of things from elswhere around town, our little area came off lightly. Others weren’t so fortunate. What price waterside property?

What didn’t help was my phone going off non-stop all afternoon. “You all right?” Comes the voice of my Mother in law, who was at her home in the far, and much dryer, southwest watching the dramatised version on the news.
“I can’t talk now, got a bit of a situation on my hands.” I really had to finish what I was doing immediately or no light, heat or Internet this weekend.
“Oh can I help?”
“Not unless you can get here via the floods inside an hour and help me close a few gaps.” I tried to sound casual, but it’s hard to be insouciant when you can see a very real risk of an electrical fire if you don’t do something about it quickly. I’m afraid I might have sounded a bit sharp over the phone as I don’t suffer fools gladly when things get a little tough. Oh what the hell, she can cut me out of her will if she wants to.

Mrs S had trouble getting home as all the roads were gradually closed by the rising waters, but she made it and so did the kids, which pleased me greatly. On my way out to her in a rescue mission that in the end wasn’t needed, I saw water fountaining up from under heavy cast iron drain covers and whole streets inundated by the light brown waters. I had to turn back five times from places where the water was completely impassable. Most of the back roads that ordinarily were dry had been completely submerged in places to a depth of a metre and over at more than one point. Abandoned cars that had tried to go through the floods too fast ended up blocking the shallowest parts of the rapidly deepening waters, and so my possible routes to collect my wife. All the time, the rain hammering down and the nagging worry in the back of my head about the electrical distribution board downstairs.

A worrisome time. Fortunately for us the rain stopped and we, like most of our neighbours escaped inundation. We had a pizza and a bottle of wine between us to celebrate our good fortune. That was nice.

Anyway, the news is that I’m packing this parking enforcement lark in. Although it’s not a bad life out on the streets and car parks, my problem is like so many before me I’ve begun to suffer quite badly in the foot department because of the long distance walking in heavy boots. The pain, even chewing painkillers five days out of six, has had me almost in tears at times, and that doesn’t happen very often. Even my Doctor has recommended that I resign to save any further permanent damage to my feet. “You need a different job.” Were his precise words I as I recall.

Following his informal advice I have submitted my resignation. I think it is well past time for me to look for some different (And softer on the old plates) streets to walk, while I am still able to do so. Wearing heavy work boots to cover an average of 17 miles per working day has done my feet no good at all. So much for ‘elf & safety culture.

How do I feel about finishing with the job? Mildly miffed of course, but there’s a whole other world out there and I’m off to see it. The only issue that leaves me with is what to do about the blog? Keep adding bits about my own particular take on the world? Bin it? Leave it as an archive? I haven’t decided yet.

On this subject, I was chatting online to Merys of “I am not a drain on society” recently via google and I broached the news of my impending retirement. She’s in my neck of the woods this weekend and we’re going to bring our significant others and have a natter over coffee or something. See how I feel about the blog then.

That was then.  June 2007.  Today is 20th December 2014.  A lot of water has flowed under many bridges since.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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