HAVING been raised as a Cumbrian lad, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about rain. I endured many a soaking as water flew in from the fells at great speed on my way to and from school. But clearly, those who are supposed to know a thing or two about rain, in a professional capacity, are sadly lacking my first-hand experience.
Residents of both Carlisle and Cockermouth watched open mouthed as their properties filled with water again last weekend, despite millions of pounds being spent on flood defences after the deluges of both of 2005 and 2009.
Clearly, an unprecedented amount of rain fell in an extremely short space of time, and the flood defences held the water back for a time, allowing for the safe evacuation of homeowners to take place – which is vital to prevent loss of life – but it has become increasingly clear that the preventative measures are not man enough for the job. The flood defences were built to protect the affected areas against a ‘one in 100 year floods’. With cities like Carlisle experiencing flooding in 2005, 2009 and 2015, it’s about time Shiny Dave started to address the causes of the flooding and not the symptoms.
It is heartbreaking to see families grabbing what belongings they can salvage from homes waist deep in water, with the Christmas trees visible through the lounge windows. Let’s hope the insurers see sense and realise that they need to settle claims as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s estimated it will cost them between £250 and £325 million but that’s why the good folk of Cumbria fork out for those high-priced policies. One thing is for certain – a great many of those evacuated will not be home for Christmas, or for a good while after that.
As a lifelong Carlisle United fan, I was devastated to see the hallowed turf of Brunton Park under water again, but the pitch now drains better than it ever did and, once club staff can actually get back in the ground, it won’t be long before we’re leaking – and scoring – goals as usual.
COMMON sense has finally prevailed after a veteran teacher won her appeal against clipping an unruly teenage boy around the ear, which threatened to end her unblemished career. Regina Hungerford, a teacher at Merthyr Tydfil College, admitted she threw pupil Shane Jenkins‘ phone out of the window when she ‘lost it’ with him, but denied hitting the boy.
The teacher faced a lifetime classroom ban after being found guilty of assaulting the boy after he refused to stop listening to music on his smartphone during a maths lesson, but Mrs Hungerford, whose 25-year volunteering career was also threatened, has now had her conviction quashed. I don’t know how teachers put up with kids these days. It was quite all right for them to throw blackboard rubbers at my head and slap the back of my legs with wooden rulers. And I didn’t even have a smartphone at school.
THANK God I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! is all over until the next time. Surely Ant and Dec will run out of the egotistical, star-struck, psychologically damaged and mentally ill soon, so we don’t have to endure “stories” about another series?
Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.