Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Flooded out in Islington

 I arrived back from a pleasant week in Sweden with my mother and MNH (Mother's New Husband, or Gillis, my lovely step father) to spend a few days with my old friends Cressida and Paul at Angel Islington.  They had arranged for an adventurous time for me, knowing how easily bored I am. After a chatty and jolly but  relatively conventional evening on Sunday, the fun started at 6am the following morning with excessive  banging on front doors in the street below and loud shouting which we took to be the boisterous  arrival of some neighbour who had been over-indulging at a pre-Christmas party.
But then we heard something that sounded like a waterfall and at closer inspection it turned out that Charlton Place (one of the streets off this main road above) had turned into a rapidly
 flowing  knee deep river and it was the Police and the fire brigade that were banging on people's doors to evacuate everyone. A mains water pipe had burst on Upper Street and some time earlier than the above picture was taken a geyser higher than the buildings had been gushing forth.
We were all helped to ford the rapids, held by the hand by police officers and escorted to a local pub, the Steam Passage, where the kind land lord had opened up his doors and was busy serving tea to all the evacuees. Here are  Paul and I drying our feet. At the next table sat Cressida's neighbour, Karen Armstrong the well known writer on religious affairs.

We were offered alternative accommodation at the local Hilton Hotel courtesy of Thames Water, who were regarded as the villains in this catastrophy: they did not arrive on the scene until about 10 in the morning when the gushing water was  finally stopped  and the damage could begin to be assessed. By that stage millions of pounds worth of of damage had been caused in the basement floors of the expensive houses in this well heeled neighbourhood.
But it was interesting to see something like this unfold in London and to try to imagine what would happen in Mali in a similar sort of disaster situation- it  happens all too frequently of course. One had to admire the efficiency of the emergency services and the comfort of a highly developed Western society: there were loss adjusters arriving  on site from  the early morning and every one who had been involved will of course be able to claim insurance. How different it would have looked in Mali where insurance hardly exists and where everyone would have taken the blow with the knowledge that it was the will of Allah ...


Blogger David said...

I didn't realise you were at Cressida's but I saw the Evening Standard report of the disaster and meant to email her yesterday. Well, interesting times and you got to meet the great Karen Armstrong, whose book on Islam is one I would recommend to everyone. Now I must pressurise Cressida to introduce us.

Hope the aftermath is less stressful.

5:39 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

well it isn't I am afraid.. things are going from bad to worse here and we have just lost the gaz supply as well as most of the electricity supply to the kitchen etc. It is freezing and I think we shall have to insist on the Hilton again this evening... but it is just so terrible for Cressida who has to work at the same time as all this is unfolding.

5:47 PM  
Blogger David said...

How awful. I just hope some of the irreplaceable treasures in the kitchen and the mural in the bathroom haven't been ruined.

10:30 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Mural and treasures intact,
but priceless record collection ruined...

12:41 PM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

EXACTLY. Love to you my Dear Sophie :)

5:00 PM  

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