Sunday, 26 April 2009
St Ives Storm Claims Lives
So here I am in St Ives, Cornwall, for my birthday break and the Spring Arts Festival.
We packed the car up to the driver's eyeline with Stuff, mostly comprising my summer frocks, shorts, bikinis (a frightening proposition now that the clotted cream and pasties are taking their toll on my summer silhouette), suntan lotion, even a cute summer hat to keep the ravaging UV rays off my face.
Friends assured me they'd had five weeks of lovely weather so I was confident of resuming my life as a beach bum (my current year-round ambition).
I should have guessed something was amiss. After all, this winter they had snow settling for the first time in an age.
We drove down Friday from sunny London. That night it set in.
It's worse than Hurricane Gordon which hit the town in September 2006. We've had unprecedented storms, horizontal rain pounding the double-glazing, an unusual high tide and freezing cold. To cap it off, the new £10 million flood-prevention system they built last year to stop the Stennack road turning into a raging river every time there's a downpour, failed spectacularly.
It poured, the road turned torrential, and many of the shops and businesses in Tregenna Place and lower Stennack have been flooded. This includes one of our hangouts, the Kettle & Wink Bar in the Western Hotel; the butchers; Yeung's Chinese where they do great ribs, and the bookstore much of whose stock has turned to pulp.
Locals are muttering darkly about someone forgetting to turn on the flood system's pump!
But, worst of all, there's been loss of life. Several young locals were in a car that was swept into a stream at Zennor that usually stands a couple of inches deep. On Friday night it reached ten or fifteen feet. The chef from a local restaurant managed to escape but others are missing. Deepest sympathy to all concerned.
Today I ventured out and was immediately bombed by a seagull — bullseye! Not a normal white squelchy one, but one of those splatterers, heavy and dark with sand. I'm telling you, Mother Nature wants us gone and she's not averse to using both comedy and tragedy to get what she wants.
For anyone interested in this sort of thing, I'm performing Anna May Wong Must Die! Friday 8th May at the Salthouse Gallery, 7pm. Charles Shaar Murray performs with Buffalo Bill Smith at the (hopefully dried-out) Kettle & Wink Bar at The Western Hotel on Sunday 3rd May. And the next day (May 4) he gives us the first-ever public reading from his forthcoming novel The Hellhound Sample (published this autumn by Headpress) along with a few thoughts on The Unified Field Theory Of The Blues, a tribute to the late, great JG Ballard and a few songs with Buffalo Bill at The Salthouse Gallery.
Thanks to Steve McIntosh for the video.