Gloucestershire: Yearning for dryness

‘Whether they’re wringing out the washing, getting those stubborn cess stains out of the carpet or taking the boat to work, the citizens of Gloucestershire have come to terms with regularly rebuilding their lives from detritus and driftwood.’

In 2007, the county was reduced to a small group of soggy islands by some of the most devastating floods on record. Power and water supplies were knocked out for days, forcing many to rely on candles for a source of heat, light and food. The clean-up and rescue operation was the largest civilian exercise undertaken by the RAF since the war, though their deployment of ‘Dambusters’ tactics proved to be counter-productive.

Despite the damage caused by the flood, most of Gloucestershire’s people have remained stoically cheerful, telling visitors that the carpet needed throwing away anyway, it was good fun for the kids, and at least it ruined the garden of the uppity old crud jockey at number 26.

The floods have been a boost to PE teachers fighting against scepticism from parents as to the educational value of getting twelve-year old children learning how to dive and collect bricks. Their view is now entirely vindicated, as these same bricks are now needed to rebuild the school.

Having had their lives turned upside down once, Gloucestershire citizens have made preparations should the flood waters ever return, with some families have moving all their precious belongings upstairs, while a hardy few have simply decided home is where the sewage outflow is.

Facts

  • TERRITORIAL DISPUTES: Dorset refusing to return town that accidentally floated over the border
  • CURRENCY: Rusted coins, soggy notes
  • PET PEEVE: Hosepipe bans
  • IMPORTS: Fish, branches, sewage
  • EXPORTS: Flotsam, jetsam
  • NATURAL HAZARDS: Living in Gloucestershire is a natural hazard
  • IDEAL HOLIDAY: Sahara desert
  • TRANSPORT: Currently seeking a boat that can do more knots to the gallon

History

1223 – Thatched roofs are banned in Gloucester after a massive fire which rips through the city is started by a tall man with an extremely warm head.

1685 – Samuel Jones sets up an important academy for dissenters taking part in the Monmouth Rebellion. Students are taught modules on Basic Rhetoric, Close-hand Fighting with Agricultural Implements; and How to Enjoy A Good Execution.

1825 – Stroud workers stage riots in protest at poor working conditions, expressing their anger at receiving gruel that has not been certified as organic.

1926 – The Gloucestershire Aircraft Company is forced to change its name to the Gloster Aircraft Company after failing to develop the technology to build a plane long enough to carry its full title.

1984 – Comedian Eric Morecambe collapses on stage during a charity performance at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury, and dies later that night in Cheltenham hospital. The theatre commemorates his life by naming a nearby conference centre the Eric Morecambe Function Room, with adjacent Ernie Wise toilet facilities.

1994 – Fred and Rosemary West are arrested and charged with the murder of twelve women and the plagiarisation of a Brookside storyline.

2007 – A local estate agent’s job is made that little bit harder after he is told to sell a Tewkesbury flat with hot and cold running chod.

Did You Know?

Cheltenham Ladies’ College is an independent school for girls aged 11 to 18. Alumni include Kristin Scott Thomas, acclaimed actress, Carolyn Kirby, the first female President of the Law Society, and Tamara Beckwith, arse.

Jasper Conran described Stroud as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’ because of its inflated prices and sense of self-importance. Birthplace of the Organic movement, residents oppose the avarice of agribusiness whilst failing to spot any greed in charging £4.50 for three carrots.

A highlight on the horse-racing calendar, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the flagship race of British steeplechase. The Royal Family are regular attendees at the meet, with the Queen’s horse entering the Cup in 2009, and the Queen Mother winning the gin and tonic downing competition in four consecutive years during the 1980s.

Every July, Tewkesbury hosts the Europe’s largest battle re-enactment, with thousands of costumed re-enactors arriving from around the world to re-enact the Battle of Tewkesbury four minutes after the opening of the beer tent.

Fun time

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