Sunday, August 24, 2008

It Never Rains...But, It Pours

The other day, I was listening to "The Last Word", a current affairs radio show broadcast from Dublin, on which someone was debunking the notion of "Global Warming" and, in particular, Al Gore's ideas. "Nice slide show Al", he said "but total rubbish - none of it makes any sense".

I beg to differ. This is wettest August in Ireland I can remember in the 10 years that I have lived here. The skies are constantly grey and there have been more flash floods, rivers overflowing their banks, people being rescued by helicopters and businesses and homes ruined beyond repair than ever before. Thankfully (as far as I know) no one has lost their lives - yet.

I had been moaning to a friend that the rain and flat, dull skies were playing havoc with my attempts to take photographs for a new travel book on Ireland. The deadline was tight enough, but I could hardly find a good couple of hours to take a shot of a monument, street, ancient ruin or pub without it having a low flat contrast and a plain, washed out (pun intended) sky.

Then, one man I met, while I was photographing a story of a flash flood in a town close to where I live, for the local newspaper, put my niggles into perspective. He told me that at 3am the other Friday morning, he was watching a large white van being swept down the street towards the front window of his downstairs apartment - at a rate of knots (literally). "I have been in a few scrapes in my time with my back up against the wall" he told me "but I have never been so scared as I was while standing in my font room, up to my knees in dirty river water, watching that huge vehicle hurling towards my font window - and with nowhere to go other than on top of the kitchen table!" Luckily, when only a few feet from smashing through his window, the current turned the van away from the house.

I was talking to that man in the street, standing by his (sodden) mattress and the shattered remains of his few belongings, which were thrown into a nearby skip. He pointed to the building next door to his apartment, a furniture shop, and said, poignantly "you know, that guy has lost over 1 million euros in stock because of that flood. But, he's insured. I'm not insured, and I didn't have two euros to rub together - and I've lost everything".

If you hear me moaning about the weather spoiling my plans for a shoot again - shoot me!!

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