Dreaming of a Wet Christmas!

Posted on December 22, 2012

As a modern wannabee middle class housing estate on the outskirts of Basingstoke, Hatch Warren sometimes feels like it has little appeal. However, as the rain once again cascades across this green and tarmacked land, living over six hundred feet above sea level and looking down on the rest of Hampshire all of a sudden seems more appealing than it once did. Because this area is essentially houses and a retail park it really doesn’t feel like it is on top of a hill, but it is and a brisk ten minute walk take you to to the peak of Farleigh Hill (682 ft) where you can see as far as the Madejski stadium in Reading on a clear day. Not that we get many clear days of course.

The sudden appeal of my estate comes from spending the morning reading the BBC news and weather and discovering that if we continue to have deep depression after deep depression propelled across us by the Jet Stream, we are, to put it bluntly, going to sink. Well, I’m not, as I live in a 0-4% flood risk area. If floods here, that will mean London, Humberside, Norfolk, Essex and the Thames Valley will already be part of the North Sea and Wales will be about the size of my my baby finger nail. Some might say that lends weight to the theory that every cloud has a silver lining, not me though, I’m better than that.

Anyway, it gets more serious than that, as apparently, over 200,000 homes in the UK are at risk of flooding which in itself is a nuisance, but even more so when you consider that insurance companies are at loggerheads with the government over a £400 million cut in flood relief. I’m not qualified to say who is right and who is wrong, probably a bit of both, but it appears that insurance companies are asking for a public funded temporary overdraft to assist with pay outs whilst the government are standing firm with their assessment that insurance firms are partaking in nothing more than opportunism whilst the wet weather is in the headlines.

The crux of the matter is that the Labour government and the insurance industry agreed a Statement of Principles in 2000, which forces insurers to cover homes in flood prone areas, but it expires next year. That leaves one in five homes across the country at risk of effectively being uninsurable. Apparently, insurance pay outs from flood damage averages between £20,000 to 40,000 a year meaning that if no cover is available, no lender in their right mind is going to offer loans to buy the properties. Of course, the result is hundreds of thousands of people sat in an ‘asset’ that is effectively a financial time bomb they will never be able to sell. My cardboard box on the hill is becoming more appealing (and I assume more valuable) by the second.

A sodden scene from my car as I sat waiting to pick George up

I am unaware of official statistics or whether they have been released yet, but 2012 must have been one of the wettest ever, it has been more or less incessant rain since March. I dare not think back to the summer months as the memories may cause me to burst in to tears it was so miserable. When I drove George to work this morning it was absolutely hosing it down and on my way back I saw a branch lying in a puddle in the road and next to it was a magpie pecking at what looked like the remains of a hedgehog.

I couldn’t help thinking what a poignant Christmas card picture it would make to sum up 2012. The big puddle would emphasise the floods, the broken tree would be the economy and the magpie pecking at the hedgehog would be a City banker scavenging what money Jo Public had left. Though not as nice a card as a robin sat on a snow tipped letterbox I suppose.

The great Lord only knows what will happen next year…I think I shall sit quietly in my house on the hill and look down on it all unfolding!

1 Reply to "Dreaming of a Wet Christmas!"

  • Lorna
    December 25, 2012 (2:38 am)

    For the record there’s much worse to come. I’ve been reading the so called ‘alternative’ science books by alledgelly maverik/fanatic scientists for some 10 years now and none of this surprises me. Brace yourselves we’re still on the upward climb of the rollercoaster that’s about to give us the shockwave of our lives. Run for the hills!! Meanwhile have a very Merry Christmas!

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