Water, water, everywhere and no dignitary in sight


It's my own fault I suppose. I wrote about my personal flooding history in last week's column only to wake up the following day and find that the basement in my new house was under a foot of water and rising.

It seemed to be coming up through the old stone floor. The local water table is full to the max and has clearly decided to use my farm as the prime location for its cunning escape plan.

My first thought was to ring the Department of the Environment and ask to be put through to Lord Smith. A hassled-sounding official informed me that this would not be possible so I left an angry message blaming the peer for my flooded basement.

I'm not sure what he could have done but blaming him seems to be the thing to do and I was eager to get on the bandwagon.

My next move was to contact the Dutch.

I rang the embassy in London and spoke to someone whose surname was rather gloriously Vanderpump. Mr Vanderpump seemed confused by my demands for his country to despatch their most powerful pump and a couple of engineers immediately.

His English, as with most Dutch people, was better than mine and he was very pleasant but it soon became clear that The Netherlands was never coming to my rescue.

I had to make do with a small pond pump from a local DIY store. It struggled to stem the tide but I now had bigger things to worry about. I knew that soon I would be flooded, not just with water but with welly-sporting politicians.

I trudged up to the upper field and painted a large H on a flat bit so that their helicopters could land and take off safely. Back in the flood zone I started rescuing my wine from my cellar and kept myself distracted by trying to guess the order in which they would arrive.

First would be Cameron (local MP) then Miliband, Clegg and finally, in an especially powerful Chinook, Eric Pickles. I was worried about Nigel Farage coming on to my property, as both my rabbits are Dutch. I put a photograph of him on my dogs' favourite chew toy and started preparing them for what to do in the event of him dropping in.

As it was, I needn't have worried. I have, so far, not had a single political visitor. I did get a tweet from the Gloucester Echo asking me if it was true that I was flooded. They are wary of carrying stories about me, since they ran with a headline that I had built a 30ft wicker man on Cleeve Hill above Cheltenham and would be burning Laurence Llewellyn Bowen in it on the Solstice.

I consoled myself with the belief I would at least get a royal sympathy visit. Prince Charles lives nearby. I rang St James's Palace to find out what he would like to eat and whether I could get a rough idea of what time he would arrive. I was told, rather curtly, that our future king was "busy".

After much discussion I was offered a consolation visit by Prince Andrew, the Duke of Golf for £200 cash.

I declined the offer.

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