Thursday, 7 August 2008


The front page of the Guardian informed me that with a sharp rise in temperature expected, English gardens will be full of spiky drought-loving plants. A few hours later and I was standing on a stool trying to block a leak in my son's bedroom as we had yet another torrential downpour here in Cambridge. How those drought-loving plants must be loving this summer.

When I worked for The Independent many years ago as an illustrator, I illustrated an article about the effects of global warming on the UK. I did a take-off of John Constable's The Haywain in which the cart was crossing a dried up river and there were palm trees and sunflowers. The more likely parody would show the cart being washed away in a flood.

I spoke to someone from my home insurance company about the fact that water has been coming into my sons bedroom and ruining his books. I told her that it probably started when there was a terrific rainstorm here a couple of weeks ago and we all stood and watched as water rushed off the roof like a waterfall. She went away and checked and came back and told me there had been no significant rainfall in Cambridge. So we all must have dreamt it.

I'd have to claim it as an accident she said. There was a £75 excess, she said. And my no-claims bonus might be affected. Insurance. Its such a comfort. Until you actually try and claim.

I spoke to Chris Riddell on the phone. I may meet up with him as he passes through Cambridge on the train back to Norfolk. We talked about what we are both up to and he always seems to be up to more exciting stuff than me. He and Paul Stewart are off to the States to promote their Barnaby Grimes books in September. And maybe that isn't as exciting as it sounds - it must be exhausting. But it beats standing on a stool with a bucket.

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