On-The-Spot Flood Special From Our Helicopter Team
Much of Bafflesby is underwater today after weather conditions described by an official source as “exceptional and unprecedented” caused the River Baffle to overflow in what locals say is now an annual event. When asked why the department of forecasting science had been axed in the austerity cuts, an Environment spokesperson said: “Nobody could have predicted this.”
Mobile-phone footage sold to the media by distraught residents has brought the rising floodwater into millions of homes nationwide. One dramatic clip captured the moment a newspaper reporter asked for a house-owner’s reaction:
… (sound of rushing water) … “So how does it feel to watch the river swirling up your garden, pouring through your back door, streaming through your lovely home and ruining all your gorgeous furnishings and precious family keepsakes?” … (sound of lachrymose sobbing) …
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. One enterprising organisation has managed to turn tragedy into triumph. Shard & Froyd Travel Tours Inc. has taken the plunge where others shiver on the side, bringing a cascade of visitors to the most severely flooded areas where they can experience all the torment and misery at second-hand. “There’s always somebody worse off than you,” said Hugo Smirke of hilltop village Upper Crustleigh, “and this is a welcome break from campaigning against wind farms.” The tour company said the catastrophe had come in the nick of time. “To be honest,” said their spokesperson, “it’s a case of sink or swim. Luxury travel has been in the doldrums since the recession. After this deluge, we’re home and dry.”
The firm who built many of the swamped estates was Floodplain Fabrications Limited Liability Company. They declined to comment and told us to contact Bafflesby and District Council who had put the land out to building tender. No council spokespersons were available but an automated message referred us to the national government agency that originally approved planning permission. The only person actually authorised to comment was the head of the agency but he was still on holiday in the Seychelles and pending his return we were advised to check back with Floodplain Fabrications that they had adhered to official guidelines.
Back in Bafflesby, confused residents awaited the arrival of a swat-team of junior government ministers on an urgent fact-finding mission. A rain-soaked crowd perched on duckboards in the town square, all eyes peeled for the ministerial convoy. The cry went up but cheers turned to jeers as fingers were pointed across the still-swollen River Baffle at the politicians and their frantically-phoning aides – 20 minutes later than promised – gazing down with apparent surprise at the impassable wreckage of the town bridge.
Their reset SatNav route took a further 20 minutes, by which time most residents had wearily resumed their property reclamation leaving a few stragglers to heckle the motorcade. The ministers leaped from their cars, donned brightly-coloured protective-wear and began to point in all directions with expressions of decisive intent and looks of pained empathy. Another mobile-phone recording captures the responses of one minister to inquiries from disgruntled bystanders:
” … and so at the end of the day, madam, when push came to shove it boiled down to hard choices and I have it on unimpeachable authority that allowing Bafflesby to flood in order to save Nobsford made perfect economic sense under the circum … (muffled interruption) … well, yes, Bafflesby does have more homes than Nobsford but when you consider market value it’s crystal clear that … (muffled interruption) … ah, yes, I see where you’re coming from but … (muffled interruption) … no, madam, what I meant was that I understand your point of view but we have to consider the British taxpayer in every … (muffled interruption) … oh well, sir, as a Nobsford taxpayer you will certainly appreciate your brand-new state-of-the-art high-water flow-containment spill-proof flood-barriers … (muffled interruption) … dear me, flooded too, you say … well, let’s not forget we’ve had exceptional and unprecedented weather conditions and I’m sure your flood defences performed brilliantly right up until the point where they failed … “
Here water penetration appears to bring the recording to an abrupt end.
We seek answers to the key questions – why, what, where, when and who?