Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

After Katrina

Apparently today is to be one of the hottest days of the summer. Excuse me? When I was sat in Clark's Bar last Friday there was hail stones bouncing off the window - who said Summer could return? What am I talking about - I'm off to Spain tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I have a ton of work to do to before I go and can let it all slide into the background. So with a nice coffee in front of me I warmed up to the day. A parcel dropped through the letterbox. I picked it up and immediately remembered what it was. Book - from Texas - I mentioned it last week? Michelle Miles sent it to me all the way from Southern US.

I opened it and there was a book called Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 inside. Hmmm, I pondered, not what I was expecting. But then, I wasn't told what to expect and wondered if maybe one of the stories had relevance to me in some way, because I had been told, I would like it. There was a note on the front saying to read inside the front cover, which I did, and the penny dropped.

It's one of the books that forms part of the BookCrossing.com network. Books are freed into the wild and picked up by people to read. Their journeys are recorded on the website so you can see where they have been and where they are in the wild last time they were let loose. It's a great idea, and this book is my first one I've taken in.

It gets better. One of the authors of the collection, Leigh Clements is in my writing group - AND she used to live in Leith. I'll try and dig out her website.

After that, things started to go down hill.

I had planned to get my money changed into Euro's at lunchtime but I forgot to bring my passport into work with me, so at lunch I headed home, had my lunch then went back into town. When I got there, I found my usual place for changing money was devoid of Euro's so I had to tramp about to find a place that did. All this, in a horrible sticky heat.

The heat over the city was incredible. Not a searing heat but muggy cause by lots of warmth trapped by low and thick cloud cover. It was palpable on the tongue and as is the normal, the heavens opened and huge drops of rain began to fall through the warm air. Thunder can't be far away, but what annoyed me more than the impending rainstorm was the fact I had put out a washing of clothes I wanted to take to Spain with me while I was at home. Best laid plans, and all that.

Tell you one thing, my problems are nothing compared to what's happening in southern America after hurricane Katrina rolled over the top of New Orleans and Mississippi.

Watching the news one has to remind themselves that this isn't some third world country in Asia, but in fact the USA; richest country in the world. The images I am seeing are horrendous. One man clutching his kids describing how he couldn't hold onto his wife's arm any more and she was torn away, just one tragic story that held me in silence.

The reporter I saw today was describing how for most people down there it just hasn't sunk in the enormity of the disaster. He mentioned that most people seemed to be expecting the city to be back up and running again by next week, when in fact it will be more like two months before clean, running water is restored, electricity is working and food and provisions can start to be properly processed.

Think about it. You live in one of the largest cities in the world (population 750,000) and there is no water, shelter, warmth, power or anything! Scary how easily it all happened.

Some of my American writer pals have vented their anger at the delay in international aid being pledged to help the victims rebuild their lives, and I have to admit, I'd never thought about it like that. The US is always expected to pump billions into disaster zones, but when something happens to them, everyone looks at their feet and says, "it's not our problem - they can afford it."

I just scanned over a couple of news portals, a few tabloids and the Government's own website, but there appears to be nothing evident to suggest any aid is coming from Britain. Why not? Why hasn't the PM made a statement about this? Or as this is his last term is he not bothered about US/UK relations?

I was hoping to post my August GDR Review, but I've ran out of time with all I've had to do before I go away, so it will have to wait until I get back. No great shakes - I won't be doing any writing as such over the next four days but I will be gathering material, you can count on that.

Anyway, I'm signing off for a few days. Be safe and I shall return when I've sobered up on Monday or Tuesday.
Colin 9:12 pm

5 Comments:

Enjoy the book and have a safe trip.

The disaster is devastating. I feel for all those people down there.
Have a wonderful and safe trip, Colin. Thanks for your kind words.
I can't think what aid the UK could give to the USA? The disaster is devasting - I agree - but exatly what are the other nations going to give to USA? Will Bush sign up to Kyoto agreement now? Or will he see this as being "God's Will"?
Hang in! And what nice words for the victims of Katrina. I think your thoughts - and those of everyone else - create good karma for all those in Mississippi and New Orleans who are going through unbelievable things right now.
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