I wouldn’t be terribly British if I didn’t feel the need to comment on the weather at ever possible moment. Recently though our national obsession has become a necessity as we try to work out what is happening and where it is safe to go and be.
Long gone are the typical 4 seasons that were once enjoyed, and instead the randomness of the weather has dominated our country. The effects of global warming are being felt far and wide. It doesn’t seem to be just this country that is suffering either as you only have to see the news from around the world to see the devastation Mother Nature is throwing at anyone and everyone in her way.
In our little corner of the world, we haven’t had a proper winter – by that I mean enough snow to make a half decent snowman, in many years. In fact the last time we did was the first year M was at school. We have the odd couple of days each winter when everything seems to grind to a halt because there is a flake of snow – as a soft southerner, I always accepted that it was us that had no idea how to cope with snow, but have found that even here in the North of Scotland, the first flurry seems to send people in to the same sort of panic. The kids of course love the snow. I say they love it, but that only lasts for about half an hour, and by then they are cold and wet, and just want to be indoors! I think it is strange that we still hold onto the idea that we get snow at Christmas, because it isn’t something that happens very often, and yet thanks to Mr Dickens we still seem to expect it. Even in my childhood, it used to be late January into February that we tended to get the worst of it. That means there is still time for this winter to throw something white at us.
The rain has made all sorts of records in the last month. Records we would love to have laid untouched and definitely not broken. It seems it was the wettest, warmest December on record.
Watching the news of the devastation caused by the raising water levels and river bursting their banks leave me with a feeling of disbelief. The disbelief is that in this day an age with the power that man supposedly has, and yet nature wins, and it wins every time. The town I live in is by the sea, but on a cliff top, so flooding is not a real problem unless rubbish has blocked the flow of the burn that runs through us, and then it is only a few poor households that suffer as a result. When though it is places you know that are so badly effect by the torrents of water, it makes it real. That probably sounds a little heartless, saying if it is not happening to people or places I know it doesn’t mean as much, but it is more like, when something happens to those we care about, it makes it far easier to put it into perspective, and to understand it. Picture of people in towns I don’t know, are horrific, and when I see them, I am grateful I can’t image what they are going through. Transfer those pictures to a hotel and restaurant we know, a community hall we have visited, and area of the county we call home, and suddenly the reality of the situation hits you. It makes it easier to understand the local and the bigger picture. I am sure I am not the only person that feels a sense of relief that it isn’t happening to me!
The big question is what is going to be done in the future. It’s great to see people working together to help those directly effected, but would it not have been better to have thought about things in the first place. I know hindsight is a great thing, but there seems to have been many decisions made at local and national levels that have lead to inaction on an almost malice level. Rivers not dredged, land on flood plains developed, flood defences not built, the list goes on. I am no expert, and don’t profess to understand the ins and outs of it all. I also don’t believe apportioning blame at this time is helpful or productive – there will be a time for that later. Lessons however must be learned. They must also be actioned to help this thing not being the common place it seems to be developing into. Surely we as a society need to be looking for a way to help our fellow man.
As always I am not hear to offer an in-depth analysis of anything. I think out loud about things and put my thoughts out there. There has to be a way of protecting people and property from the ravishes of nature. We have to be allowed to move forward so situations that we have been seeing recently aren’t constantly repeated. There has to be a way forward that will make people safe in their own homes. Investment in flood controls needs to be looked at immediately, and not in another 5 years time because parts of this country don’t have the luxury to sit back and see what happens.
I will climb off my soap box now and just say keep safe out there.