Perhaps all countries, states, and regions are naturally capital-city-centric, but it's not often I am brutally reminded of that fact here in Ye Olde England where nowhere is very far away from anywhere else - at least in geographical terms. But, here in the wilds of rural Derbyshire, it's becoming increasingly clear just how far away we are in practical terms from the rest of the country.
Reading the newspaper, it seems like the world is about to end because of the most severe drought for fifty years. Reservoirs are empty, rivers have dried up, and it's so bad that our local water company is actually selling water to others elsewhere in the country. I read last week about how Severn Trent is pumping water into a local river that eventually feeds into the River Trent where Anglian Water is sucking it out again. I'm not sure how they know which water is theirs, or whether there'll be floods if they don't pump it out quickly enough.
Of course there's already a hosepipe ban on now in the majority of the country, with the most severe restrictions ever. They say that there'll soon be standpipes in the street and water rationing unless people start bathing in just half an inch of water. You'd think that we lived in the middle of a desert.
And every day there's a new crisis. Boat cruise companies will go out of business because the canals are closed. Public parks will become waste grounds as all the trees and bushes wither away. There'll be hundreds killed on the roads because cars will be so dirty you can’t see them. Garden centers will go bankrupt because nobody will buy plants. And then, when it does rain, there'll be flash floods because the ground is baked hard.
So while most of the country is reported to be drowning in both debt and drought, here in our glorious little haven of tranquility we're drowning in a lack of drought. Last December was the wettest for years, and it rained for most of March and all of April. At Easter it snowed. My lawn in like a quagmire, my fishpond is overflowing, and you need waders to walk through the woods next door. At one point recently it was raining at a rate of five inches per hour, and we even had hailstorms twice last week. Someone wrote to the letters page of my daily newspaper yesterday to ask if this was the wettest drought since records began.
Mind you, I did hear that our local recreation center is doing its bit to help. Due to the water shortage, they've closed two lanes of the swimming pool.