Peter Rhodes on power cuts, grisly punishments and what sort of weather will become 'the new normal'?

Here’s a news item to cut out and keep for the summer of 2023. The National Trust is warning that extreme weather seen in the UK in 2022 will become “the new normal.”

Trees down, power off
Trees down, power off

Maybe it will. But isn’t the real message of 2022 that, in weather terms, the new normal is simply the abnormal? Expect the unexpected. Far from dutifully following last year’s scorching summer with more of the same, Mother Nature might just send icebergs up the Thames in August.

Labour is studying a scheme to allow victims of anti-social behaviour to choose how offenders are punished. Steady on, Keir.

I recall the readers’ comments on this column some years ago on how to deal with people who abuse animals. One reader suggested flaying them alive with an industrial sander and rubbing rock salt all over their skinned bodies.

I don’t know what punishment might be deemed suitable for anti-social behaviour such as urinating in the street or slamming car doors after midnight but, for some residents, firing squads might be a vote-winner.

Lessons from our first power cut of the winter. Firstly, dig out those candles and battery lanterns you hid in a really sensible place for just this eventuality. It is remarkable how, as the lights go out, so does your memory. Where the hell are they?

After some floundering around, I finally found our emergency lighting tucked away at the bottom of a book shelf behind a box file. I mean, how? Why?

I rang National Grid where they already knew about the power cut and calmly assured us it would be fixed in about 90 minutes. In fact, the lights came on after only 20 minutes. That evening, a chap from National Grid rang to explain that a cable had been broken, probably by a falling tree, and about 2,000 customers had been affected.

“We’re not very popular at the moment ,” he said glumly which struck me as unfair. Trees will be trees; it is in their nature to fall over, and why blame the Grid for the cussedness of a rotten ash? I was impressed that the power was restored so quickly.

Crisis over, we put the lanterns and candles back in their super-clever hiding place. I’ve forgotten it already.

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