By Brian Hall
Monday 16 Jul 2012 10:47:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles



Aye. What a Thursday in our Northumbrian nation, all the way from deepest County Durham, across Tyne and Wear, and up right across Northumberland. I was in Byker at one point, as the blitz hit. Far worse, and on a far bigger scale than the Great Byker Fire of last year, which I managed to survive. What struck me in the Cuban-style torrential storm, complete with fierce lightening, thunder like bombs gannin off, very dark skies, and water flooding the roads like the North Sea in raging winter anger, was the stoical reaction of most people. 


Our lot just took it all. Helped each other when they could. At times, we all think our community spirit has been smashed to pieces, totally broken, by many years of governments kicked off by Thatcher, that presided over its dismantlement. Weh. I have to say that yesterday was an example when proof was provided that the process of destruction of an integral part of our culture has not totally succeeded. All kinds of characters, including the much-maligned teenagers, simply got stuck in to help. The bloke who seemed to walk on water to get a woman and her bairn out of a car. The many other characters in streets across the North East who helped their neighbours in the deluge. And so on.


As ever, too, in this curious remote corner of Britain, despite pretty horrible situations for so many, humour did surface in adversity. Amongst many other incidents, one lass took off on the Chilli Road in Heaton in a canoe! And of course, others had a plunge and swim in various parts of the area. Who dares say that the North East is knackered, eh!!? Not with that humour and resilience around, it aint.


A small aspect of it all reminded me of the Gallowgate End in the late 70s and 80s. When the rains came down, fans used to sit down, burst into song - Singing In the Rain - and got totally drenched in that uncovered location in Toon.


And despite the Great Torrential Storm which hit us yesterday, it could have been worse. In 1923, a Dean from the Durham Cathedral got mistaken for the Bishop himself at the Miners Gala - the Bish had criticised the pitmen previously for gannin on strike for better conditions. The poor bloke, the one mistook for his Boss, that is, was hoyed in a pretty big river that day. And in 1339, the Tyne burst its banks, flooding everywhere at the lower end of toon. Including, of course, the area where the Law Courts are now. Mind you, I suppose some in there yesterday might have wished for a repetition of that one.


BRIAN                            A survivor of the Great Byker Fire, and now the Great Northumbrian Torrential Storm. And a bloody big well done to all those directly affected in so many ways yesterday for carrying on and trying to deal with it all.













ps              you always get one though. i saw that on the Chilli Road, when a flash buggar in a flash tank/range rover/jeep furiously honked his horn at a van in front of him. Sad git. He clearly had eyesight problems - nobody was going anywhere. Maybe his view just caught the return gesture from the inhabitant of that van. It seemed to stop him honking, anyway!!

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