Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ian McMillan

Just watched (a recording of) the South Bank Show on the Bard of Barnsley (Ian McMillan).

I'm grateful to him for reminding me of the miner's strike.

In my lunchbreak from my computer job I went down and gave money to the relief fund. Not on-line of course - but in person.

All the same, I remember thinking at the time that when all was said and done, maybe the old ways were at an end; that despite all those arguments about the competitiveness of the coal industry, it was all over and we better get used to the idea. To that extent, I was complicit in the outcome.

Now, looking back, I see things differently - or let's say, I view things more broadly. While recognising the way the 'tide of history was running', I find myself picturing the generations of miners who toiled underground to fuel the building of the empire; powering the blast furnaces and filling the coal bunkers of the dreadnoughts.

Their immense contribution to the wealth of this country is rarely acknowledged.

They've been set aside.

Of their lives and the rich communities they created only the faintest echoes remain.


I had no idea what a bowser was until last weekend.

I've just been watching TV pictures of people queuing
for water - most of them appeared fairly disadvantaged
to me. I know this might seem cruel or patronising but
I couldn't avoid the impression.

In Stroud (my local town) there was a report of young
toffs come down from the higher ground to ride jet skis
around the flooded streets, while people were fighting
to barricade their homes against the flood water.

Surely this can't be true. Tell me it's an urban myth.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Building on flood plains

If we have to build houses on flood plains - and it appears there are persuasive arguments for doing so - we should at least make them capable of 'riding-out' the sort of regular flooding expected over the coming years.

If houses were designed to stand clear of flood water, we might learn to see flooding as an inconvenience, rather than the disaster we are currently enduring.