In my bit of England, the kids aren’t doing mischief, they’re doing sandbags. Or, that was what Mark and I did last evening. We filled sandbags for use in the areas affected by the flooding.
I’ve mentioned before that once or twice every fortnight or so, Mark goes off to be kind to animals. He volunteers for a shelter, feeding dogs and cats and all sorts of animals that have been done over by humans. All of our animals come from there, originally. The dogs Watson and Lady, and George the cat. At one time we even had budgies visiting in our house for a few days.
The chairman of that charity lives in a posh old house by the Thames, near one of the places that has a red flood warning attached to it. What better way to help yourself than to enlist the people who volunteer otherwise in the charity? No, now I’m being uncharitable because it was not only her house that was under threat.
Said and done, the chair rang Mark, and then Mark rang me, and by dark we were ten to fifteen intrepid Wellington-clad heroic figures hovering over plastic cups of PG Tips and home-made shortbread, all served across a barrel with sand covered by a board.
There is something absolutely charming about ordinary Englishman afflicted by adversity. We don’t make noise of ourselves, but by the strength of our tea and biscuits, we can move mountains. Unless of course politicians get in the way of our action, then there will be words, like the near fisticuffs threatened onto Ed Miliband when he appeared with a press posse and a clutch of body guards for a photo opportunity during the flooding in Somerset.
It was a good-natured evening, last night, full of banter and good cheer despite the ominous sight of the Thames not far away. The stiff upper lip hasn’t softened yet, and can be called on when the situation warrants it. But I am so sick of the raining and the flooding and the weather now. I could only sleep for four hours this night because you don’t have to go far to see what a mess this country is at the moment, and thousands are really affected by it.
So, I’m glad we went and filled sand-bags yesterday, because it feels like I at least have done something.