Water, Water Everywhere

I know it’s a very damp subject and everyone keeps pouring over it but I can’t resist writing more about our bizarre wet winter. There are two reasons for doing this. One is my continuing disbelief at the sheer volume of water that is able to float in the sky above us. How can this be? It defies the laws of Physics. I remember clouds being nice and pretty and cuddly (just like cute fluffy white sheep), but I now view them as huge sopping wet sponges eager to squeeze their revolting floodwater over anything that happens to pass below. And number two is (given the usually predictable clash of journalism and current events) that if I write about it again today, the story will be dead in the water (pardon the non-joke) by tomorrow. Mentioning it in public as much as possible may be the best way of ensuring a beautifully hot and dry spring and summer.

There aren’t many benefits (certainly none if your house is under water) but lets try and look at an upside or two. Firstly there’s education. Look how much more we’ve learnt about global warming and disrupted weather patterns. Before all of this, I used to think that ‘Jet Stream’ was a type of home fizzy drinks machine and that El Niňo played inside right for Liverpool, but now I know better. He must be the Chelsea manager—José El Niňo Mourinho.

I’m also told that ‘Duplicatus’ and ‘Lacunosus’ are varieties of cloud. This is a shame as I much prefer my original thought of them actually being dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. I’ve learnt as well that Atlantic storms are alphabetically named after girls and Pacific Ocean storms after boys except when it’s inappropriate—I suppose like Cyclone Adolf or Tornado Attila? Most other names are OK, so I’m particularly looking forward to sheltering from Monsoon Boris (probably more bluster than blow?) and greeting Typhoon Andrew and Hurricane Kate (obviously not so much a storm as a benign regal wind).

Another advantage going forward is no drought warnings or hosepipe bans during 2014. Yes, we can hopefully water our gardens, fill up our kiddies’ paddling pools and wash our cars all summer without incurring fines—except of course we’ll be charged for the water we use anyway.

Incidentally, why don’t we all live in Portsmouth? Why on earth you may ask… Well, according to the Government’s ‘OfWat’ website, I’ve just read they have the cheapest water bills in the UK, whereas we in Devon, Dorset and Somerset have some of the most expensive. Surely it should be like ‘supply and demand’—i.e. the greater the rainfall, the cheaper the cost of water ‘cos there’s more of it about? Therefore we should all have lower water charges due to the south west’s vast amounts of rain and flooding. Just a thought…

Anyway, if the recent deluge becomes a regular weather pattern, we had better get used to the idea and make the best of it. Think to the future and start developing now.

For example, a new ‘Waterworld’ theme park in Maiden Newton plus penguins, turtles, sharks and pirates (with or without Kevin Costner). As the water levels rise, be enterprising (like the laterally incorrect image on this page) and open up a boating park on the new Lake Colmer near Bridport. Or, instead of making use of the current Olympic sailing facilities at Weymouth, we could set sail actually in Weymouth itself—racing our dinghies around the King’s Statue and water skiing along Chickerell road.

Further west, we might enjoy fleets of gondolas with Polish or Bulgarian look-alike gondoliers (see my last month’s article), serenading restaurant guests in Axminster-on-sea (also now known as ‘Devon’s Little Venice’).

The village of Yarcombe (to the northeast of Honiton) was never known as a major hub for global sporting excellence but that was before the rising river levels gave birth to the ‘Yarcombe Centre for Sychronised Swimming’. Nowadays, eager participants swim up the road to pause outside the Yarcombe inn to indulge in 30 minutes of global forced smiling and watery leg waving—an event which attracts thousands of visitors each summer. The village also used to regularly hold the East Devon Sheepdog Trials, but this has now been superceded by the East Devon Dolphin Trials when shoaling flocks of mackerel are herded into nets by obedient dolphin and their whistling trainers. Fun for all the family—particularly if they take their swim suits and underwater cameras, otherwise there’s not much to see from on top. It’s all a case of ‘sink or swim’. Or perhaps that should read ‘adapt or drown…’