Keep dry and carry on: the
wartime spirit
does us proud

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Moaning. It’s a great British trait. We love doing it and we’re never happier than when we are having a good old whinge.

It might be about the price of petrol, traffic jams or cyclists on the prom. But top of our list of gripes has to be the weather. Always has been, always will.

Too hot, too cold; too windy, too wet. It doesn’t matter what it’s doing outside, we rarely approve.

But at the moment we have every right to mutter darkly and complain loudly. As we ask on the front page today: when will it end?

It’s been going on for months – if it’s not blowing a hooley we’re enduring downpours of biblical proportions. And it has been doing that week in, week out since the autumn.

If anybody has the right to complain bitterly it is the marooned residents of the village of Hambledon.

But what do we find? A can-do spirit of wartime co-operation with an attitude of ‘we’re all in this together so let’s make do and mend’.

There they are, up to their thighs in sewage-laden sludge, many of their homes badly-damaged by the rising, falling, then rising again waters of filth.

And what do they do? Try to keep dry and carry on. Quietly with taut upper lips.

It proves in an age where self so often seems to come before others, where materialism and personal wealth are more important than the common good, adversity still brings out the best in people.

And yes, it is a village where one might expect people to rush to each other’s aid.

But remember the appalling floods in Southsea in 2000? There too, after a so-called one-in-a-100-year rainstorm, the streets were swamped with raw sewage, manhole covers were propelled feet into the air and residents were forced to leave their sodden homes for months.

But the spirit of co-operation and community existed there also, in an urban setting.

We applaud what the people of Hambledon have done. It restores faith in human nature. But what a shame its takes dire circumstances to bring it to the fore.