Something in the water?

Last week when I wrote about the meeting with the environment agency, I said I would come back with more information when I received copies of the slides, unfortunately despite having emailed both EA and RBWM with the addresses they supplied at the meeting, I have heard nothing. I know they also promised copies to the Parish Council, if anyone has a copy, could they please send them on to me, so that I might inform more of our community what they were saying.

I have spent some time this week reflecting on the meeting, and I have been thinking that it was quite amazing that everyone controlled their tempers, I know we don’t blame the individuals from EA and RBWM who came to the meeting, they came across almost as concerned as the residents, and they personally were not to blame, but it is a huge issue for our community.

Almost the whole village is at risk, we have a history of regular and serious flooding, and yet we are on nobody’s radar. We are the “nowhere villages” on the fringes of everyone areas of responsibility, only just in the Royal Borough, not quite in Surrey, outside the M25, not quite in London, almost Heathrow, and so everyone is happy to turn a blind eye. But the risks are real, they affect us all massively, both financially with increased insurance etc, and increased stress during the winter months, and still nobody shouted, nobody vented the palpable frustration by speaking out of turn. Yes there was great annoyance and desperation, but everyone was controlled and cohesive.

Why? I think I have an inkling…

When I first came to the village, some 28 years ago, I had no idea where Wraysbury was, I had to look on a map, there it was, right on the edge of a page. I was enchanted, it was like the Staines Road travelled a mile in distance, yet back 30 years in time, I was told that Wraysbury had more clubs and societies per person than anywhere else in England, I could believe it. It was friendly and welcoming, obviously with Concorde twice a day it wasn’t peaceful, but nobody minded, everyone watched the majestic beauty climb across the sky and smiled, it was a village at peace with itself. I remember Dr Hassan telling me not to drink the local water, it’s not good he would insist, at least once a week, and I like everyone else that I know ignored his advice, I drank the water, I felt fine.

We still have an abundance of clubs and societies, I don’t know if more or less than then, but certainly enough to keep us all busy, we have some incredible individuals who give huge amounts of time to the community, indeed I think we have more generosity and community spirit than when I arrived. We still have an incredibly active Village Trust, the members of which year after year give money to benefit our community, indeed they have just funded the amazing outdoor gym on The Green, I think they are contributing more now than ever. We have volunteers cooking lunches every day in the village hall, and delivering them to those that need them, we have coffee mornings every Monday in Champney Hall, and Wednesdays in The Hub, and Lunch Club every Thursday in the village hall. The Village Club is open every day offering fantastic value and a warm welcome, we had a warm room in the cold, and we have a helpline, available to anyone in the community to phone for help or assistance. A lot of these services, and more, did not exist 28 years ago. Too many people doing amazing work to be mentioned by name, especially as I’m sure I only see a fraction of the great acts of kindness, and would be bound to miss someone out. We have some fantastic shops, with some amazing staff, I do want to mention a couple by name, Karen from the Pharmacy, was here 28 years ago, and has rarely missed a day, I’ve never known anyone more dedicated to public service. Aran in Sai News (the Post Office) indeed all the staff in our local shops, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble. Nick and Sarah at The Percy… The list of amazing people who work very hard to serve our community is long, BUT I don’t think they are the whole reason our villages are amazing, I think YOU are. It only takes a few bad apples to pollute the barrel, I’m not suggesting everyone in Wraysbury and Horton are saints, and I don’t think anyone would want to live in a community of saints, we have over the years had a few bad apples, but not many, even now there might be the occasional dodgy fruit in our collective barrel, but too few to change the community.

Maybe Dr Hassan was right, it’s something in the water, it makes us nice people. Maybe we should form a cooperative and export Wraysbury Water, I certainly know of a chap in Russia that might benefit from a glass or two… but I’m not sure it is the drinking water, I think it’s about the flood water.

I believe we are a community at great collective jeopardy, threatened by the floods, on the fringes, stuck between M25, M4, M3 and in the shadow of Heathrow Airport, and yet an amazing community spirit, a community focussed on each other, who care for one another. I believe the two aspects, the collective jeopardy and the community spirit are not un-related. I think we care for each other because we all share this threat, we are all together in the land that time, and RBWM forgot, but we’re in it together, and we recognise each other as kindred, if not consciously, then at some deeper level.

I know we have a fight to protect our community from the threats of floods, but we also have the silver lining (or probably just tin foil!) we have a special community, and you are that community, together, everyone of us is a small part of a great thing, and should be proud of that, and occasionally stop and reflect, and have a collective pat on the back. We didn’t shout, we didn’t scream although I don’t doubt that some wanted to, we will work together as a community to help each other. We will survive and prosper.

Again apologies for not having more information on the EA plans, or lack of plans, but I will write about them, as soon as I get a copy.


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3 Responses

  1. Sue Nicholls says:

    Simon, the slides are on the PC website

  2. The slideshow is now available here with some comments in red by me. Thanks.