All pictures taken in Cheltenham town centre this afternoon.
This is Cheltenham High Street today, looking pretty much as it does on any Friday afternoon. It's hard to imagine that most of the people in this photo have had no running water for four days.
And if you've seen the tabloid newspaper headlines and were afraid we might all be dying of cholera, as you can see, we're not. Seven days after the flood, which was the second "100 year flood" in three weeks, Cheltenham looked like its normal self. It was only the presence of lots of fire engines, army trucks and water tankers on the roads that showed things were not normal. Most shops were open, especially the small ones run by local people, though some of the big chains were closed presumably in decisions taken by absentee managers who don't know what it's actually like here. The cinema was closed but the music concerts at the pump room went ahead. The local buses were running. And the general mood on the streets is still chirpy. People were sitting at outdoor tables at cafés. The lion's head fountain was on in Sandford Park (presumably running on river water) and people were sunning themselves on the lawns. There was a shop selling large buckets.
I wouldn't want to underplay the seriousness of the situation ... this is a place where people's homes and livelihoods have been wrecked, twice in some cases, and many people are going through one misery after another as they start to sort out the mess. But you won't see that many people feeling sorry for themselves. There's a contingent of whingers of course, but most people are taking responsibility for themselves and getting on with it.
St George's Street in the town centre. Residents desperate for water have tilted this bowser up on a police traffic cone to get the last few dregs out of it.
The Prontaprint shop on the Bath Road has bags of builder's sand piled up its doorway. Their shop has been flooded twice in the last three weeks. Last Friday when the floods were doing their worst there was a queue of 60 cars waiting for sandbags at the council's depot, so many had to resort to buying their own sand from builders' merchants.
A familiar sight in Cheltenham at the moment as businesses struggle to stay open ... Portaloos for staff lined up outside an office building. They are all padlocked so that the general public can't nip in and use them!
So far the council has not been able to get hold of any Portaloos for public use because there's a drastic shortage, but they're working on it. The town's economy is heavily reliant on tourism so we need our public bogs! And the police have threatened to arrest anyone who widdles in the street.
Vandalism is a part of British life these days even in a crisis. This bowser in Rodney Road has been "tagged".
Sign addressed to Severn Trent, our regional water company, taped to the bowser in Rodney Road.
I think whoever put this here is being a bit harsh. Yes there is a shortage of water and it's frustrating (north Gloucestershire is running on 5% of its usual water consumption) but I honestly don't think Severn Trent could have done much more to prepare for the current unprecedented situation, and for the most part they have done a fantastic job in trying to deal with it. Of course there are many things they could have done better but flippin' heck, look at the scale of what they're faced with.
The River Chelt just round the back of Royal Well Lane, still a bit lively and murky but behaving itself. It's what's known as a "flashy" river ... it isn't very big or deep but it's prone to swelling up very, very suddenly, taking surges of rainwater off the Cotswold hills from other nearby brooks. There's still some debris here left over from the flooding. That panel you can see appears to be a kitchen cupboard door.
These houses in Little Bayshill Terrace have the River Chelt running right round them and against their perimeter walls, so it's no wonder they still have a few sandbags piled up on the wall. You can't really see it in this pic, but there is a Siamese cat sitting in the top left window.