The early part of spring was dry in Britain this year, and the winter was too. Overall, the U.K. got just 47% of its average April rainfall. Some places only got 10% of their average.
As I type this (which is sometime before I’m posting it), the weather’s turned and it’s been alternately raining, drizzling, and mizzling (that’s somewhere between mist and drizzle) for three days, but we’re still short of water. It doesn’t take long in this country for isn’t-this-wonderful weather to turn into drought, and just before the rain came the papers had begun fretting about the prospect of drought.
The earliest articles warned about the apple crop, and the plums and pears, but just before the rain came the news got serious; If this goes on, an article said, it’s going to affect whisky and beer production.
Well, holy shit, the country would be in trouble.
The British media has a way of cutting to the center of any issue. I was listening to a BBC report on the problems in prisons a while back. These have—no surprise here—been increasing with underfunding, understaffing, privatization, and (not to get political about it or anything) all the other joys the current (not to mention previous) government brought us.
What sort of problems were they having? I don’t remember the full list, but it included suicides and violence, so it was serious stuff. But the problem that stayed with me was that prisoners had stopped queuing.
If you’re British, I should explain that finding a list composed of suicide, violence, and not queuing will strike people from other countries as hysterically funny. And if you’re American (or any other speaker of not-British), I should probably explain: Queuing means standing in line. and queuing is Britain’s true national religion. When people stop forming queues, it’s a sign that the culture’s falling apart.
So, my friends, the situation is serious. Prisoners no longer instinctively form orderly queues. The world as we know it is crumbling, and unless the rain continues we may not even have whiskey and beer to console us.
Not that I drink anymore, but I don’t look forward to seeing in the end of the world with a bunch of very crabby people.