It is that time of year again for me, so the past few days its been blood tests so many needles here and there blood pressures, tablet tests, dashing back to the doctors for more of the same who said you cannot get blood out of a stone. So when I got a call from an old friend to meet up I gleefully accepted. Now I have not seen Bill for a few years but memories are strong of a funny but caring guy with a long-suffering loving wife, he has not changed one bit. But anyway, there is, as always with us, a story so here goes.
We were staying in Portsmouth at the Inn Lodge and as is my want when near water I headed for the coast, boy have things changed. To meet up with Bill at the boat yard – yep he’s a yachtsman – we travelled to Gosport on the other side of Portsmouth Harbour. Whilst we were waiting for him to arrive, I looked across the harbour entrance and all I could see were new buildings. Bit strange I thought, after all if they are building so close to the water surely with Global Warming the sea should be rising and the new developments should be getting flooded? if you take a ride up to the Black Rabbit on the river Arun after heavy rain, you will see the flood plains covered in water no houses built here, apart from Pulborough who built right on the rivers edge.
But I digress. When Bill arrived we he introduced us to his friend Dennis and we all wandered around the boat yard looking at the boats of some people we knew all the while making our way towards Bill’s pride and joy. She is a lovely yacht 3 double berths plenty of room with wheel steering instead of a tiller. We then went on board for coffee enjoying the company and setting the world to rights. It was suggested we went for lunch so we wandered over to the little cafe on the dock side. As is usual in these places, the food was good and the banter typical. From here you can see the harbour entrance and watch the ferries and navy ships coming and going. As we watched H87 HMS Echo a hydrographic ship leaving Portsmouth dockyards and very proud it looked too. It was high tide with the water lapping the dockside with the pontoons almost level umm….
From here we could also see what was missing, the masts of HMS Victory. These are currently being replaced, making the ship look a little forlorn not being in all its natural glory. When the wood for this repair has been moved a Motor torpedo boat that was originally built for the Norwegian Navy during the war. When Hitler invaded they boat was ‘stolen’ back and discovered again by a restoration group but it was not completely finished by them. The group who eventually finished restoring it to its former glory then presented it to the Norwegian Navy who placed it in their museum. But now the Norwegians are giving it back so it will be returning to Portsmouth Dockyards to its final home in this spot. Dennis has produced a working model of this boat which is doing its water tests, this is a hobby he is very proud of. They have also built a proper home for the remains of the Mary Rose, it is no longer a cold, damp plastic covered shed as we remember it but a fine brick building fitting for the remains of our historic naval heritage.
Not having been over this way for a few years we drove along the sea road towards Lee On Solent. At every parking spot where you had a good view of the Solent or a decent beach area there were pay meters, not exactly visitor friendly. I know the councils are in need of money but surely they would make more if they made the prices a little cheaper in the winter, people still visit. You could see the houses on the opposite side of the road surely if things were as bad as we are told, every one would be moving away from this area after all a good blow and the sea would be over the road and they would be flooded.
I personally think that people who are in flooded areas which, although they have experienced flooding before, say it is getting worse, should take a good look at the planning permissions given to the builders by local authorities. Then if their homes are built on what were originally flood plains, ask who gave the permission and why. It should not take too long to discover if the land flooded, a trawl through records of local papers should provide this information. What comeback – if any – against the local authorities you would have to check with a lawyer.
But take a minute and think this out how come low-lying areas are not under water permanently? I do not mean flooding when it rains heavy, but by pure logic if Global Warming is causing the icebergs to melt and the sea to rise why are not towns like Portsmouth permanently under water or have a great big sea wall surrounding it, perhaps the ice that is melting already displaces all the Sea water because it all floats as in the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. However I ramble on start talking about one thing then end up talking about something else but that is how you talk to friends.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc