Friday, June 29, 2007

Report from the Battered Wastelands

And so it goes on.

We spent most of yesterday on alert in case we should have to evacuate the City Campus. "Be prepared to leave at short notice!" Not because we were at risk from the dam near Rotherham which was threatening to burst its wall, but because of rolling power cuts across the city, following the loss of a main sub-station. We had been warned that we were at risk of losing our power in the afternoon, in which case we would have to clear the building of students and close it down. The power cuts were for several hours when they happened. It's a very strange feeling, being on that sort of alert. You don't know whether to take all your Going Home possessions with you when leaving the office for short meetings. In the event it was not us but the Collegiate Campus which was closed down, fortunately with a hour or so's notice. Staff were sent home at three o'clock yesterday afternoon and the campus will not reopen until lunchtime today. There are lots of Collegiate Learning Centre refugees wandering around the Adsetts Centre today. I *think* the danger of power cuts in the city centre has been averted for the time being.

In the meantime, in the centre of Chesterfield, the Somerfield supermarket in one of the main shopping precincts caught fire. You could see the smoke for miles. You could see the smoke from our garden. The precinct is the one which also houses the library, and a branch of Julian Graves, where I get my dried fruit and seeds and stuff from, not to mention the usual high street stores. The supermarket is completely destroyed but fortunately the rest of the precinct is not. Nor is the little organic shop I go to in one of the laneways close by. I would miss that were it to burn down. So that's Flood and Fire. Famine next? Although Roger says we've more or less had that, given it was a supermarket that burned down. So Pestilence next, then.

And now the Met Office has issued early severe weather warnings for the whole of England and Wales for Saturday and Sunday. We had been intending to head to Salisbury on Saturday so as to take The Builder's frail, aged parents out for lunch on Sunday. I had to make a decision today whether or not to cancel the hotel booking for Saturday, otherwise we would have to pay whether we turned up or not. I assume our travel insurance would cover that, but it might not be worth the hassle. And oops - no it wouldn't. It seems to have expired!! I wonder if my credit card insurance would. Must find out. Anyway. I cancelled it. If the weather is less than apocalyptic on Sunday we'll just leave ever so, ever so early and make it a day trip. I don't think the weather they are expecting is necessarily of itself likely to be awful, but the likelihood of flooding is enhanced because - oh, look; some places are *still* flooded! And I don't want to get stuck, roofless, in a wet and soggy Salisbury. Or points north, come to that.

It does have a kind of apocalyptic feel to it, all this. Fires (Gatecrasher, one of Sheffield's biggest nightclubs burnt down last week; Somerfield ), floods (twice in just over a week in Sheffield which is almost never prone to flooding, but quite widely over Yorkshire and the Midlands as a whole this week), power cuts, campuses evacuated, dams threatening to burst, public transport brought to a halt. I wonder what we in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire have done so to piss off the deities?

Not just us, though. I see that east Victoria is also under water and battered by storms and tempests and calamities. Chris P tells me that one of her neighbours was squashed in his bed by a falling tree. Grim!

We seem to have acquired a new Prime Minister. Pity. I'd just got the last one trained up! We also seem to have acquired a new Home Secretary; someone of whom I had never previously heard. New Prime Ministers should only appoint people I know about to prominent positions in the cabinet!
Post a Comment