Enabler Publications

Books to feed the Mind and Spirit

Upton blues.....

Briefly (ish). I was heading to help out at Upton in Worcester's Blues
Festival. I got stuck in a train 500 metres outside Droitwich station for about four hours. They wouldn't let us off to walk the rest. Then, when we did reach the station there were no staff, no buses, no trains. Eight of us hired a mini bus to head to Malvern, but the flood gave the taxi driver the willies and he dumped us in Worcester. I hung around the station for about three hours. No accommodation was available, no emergency facilities that we could find, so at about 8.30 pm I went on a wander around the pubs in search of a room. The Cricketers led to the Toby and thence to the end the line at the Five Ways. This is a seedy disco pub. Friday and Saturday's fighting guaranteed. I shared with two delightful lads. A 32 year old who had psychiatric problems after the Iraq war and Alan, his 18 year old side kick, who seemed marginally nicer. They'd decided that as they were cut off they were going to party. I bought them a beer then headed to an Indian restaurant and a bit of civilisation. They got back to the room at about 3 am and recounted their tales (loudly) for a couple of hours. I pretended to be asleep.

Upton in flood, 2007Basically, Ali, the older one, bragged about the series of fights and getting thrown out of two clubs, Images, and somewhere else. It ran along the lines: 'Well when you held that geezer in the stripey vest - the fat little cunt - he'd tried to hit me after I told him I was proud to be English and a BNP member. The bouncer hit you and we got thrown out. And then we picked up Ailsee, she was 15 - got her mobile number, Alan?' Lots of text messages later they went to snoresville.

I fled with my big rucksack full of camping gear at about 7.30 am and was told that all buses and trains were cancelled indefinitely. Ian, my boat building friend, was cut off at Upton Marina, but I was in touch on my mobile, so Plan B3 was for me to get a taxi out of Worcester on the A38, then to walk towards Upton and Ian would try to reach me from the other direction. Some of the floods were about three foot deep - pretty tricky. After about six miles I got a lift (Thanks Pam and Chris!) and so I told Ian to turn back and I was dropped at the Marina. The other two roads into Upton were impassable.

Flooded caravans in UptonIan was busy trying to convince boaters to get their cars out of the Marina - he reckoned that it would become cut off that night, possibly for as long as a week or more. He was correct but only some folk took his advice. The caravan park next door was completely wrecked by early evening and the owner had to rescued by Sea King helicopter on the Sunday morning.

No music had happened on the Friday night but at least four bands played on Saturday night. Not great but Barfly were good in the rather depressing Memorial Hall. Ian left for his home in Malvern early on and I drank through most of the day with other friends and slept in the Marina office, which meant taking off my gumboots to wade the last 200 metres in nearly waist deep cold water.

Sunday morning I helped move piles of equipment, bedding, people and motorbikes to relative safety. The police sealed off the town early in the afternoon and the army were being drafted in to ferry people stranded in newly formed little islands. The water by then was three miles wide.

GMTV and BBC News24 'saving' people from the Upton FloodsA surreal moment on Sunday morning was when GMTV and BBC News24 both arrived at the Marina looking for someone to 'save' as they had the crack Cheshire rescue crew with them. No-one needed saving. OK, we were surrounded by water, but we could wade through less than waist deep water for about 100 metres to get to the bridge into Upton. But they weren't to be thwarted. A group of boaters volunteered to be rescued. The three women went off to the toilet block to apply make up. They were kitted out with life jackets and in the interview I heard one of the women saying: 'We feared for our lives. It was so frightening. We weren't worried for our possessions...' Load of bullshit. And so they were rescued for two of our national news channels.

In the afternoon, I fled with Ian and Pauline to their home in Malvern and we had plenty of booze and listened to some of Ian's fine music collection. Monday and off to London for meetings. Back to Scotland Thursday night.

Upton meanwhile was attempting in the wake of the by then abandoned blues festival to organise a street party with booze and flood damaged furniture donated for free by the three waterfront pubs, the King's Head, the Swan and the Plough. Those putting it on were expecting a few musos to provide some entertainment. I really hope everyone had fun.

And that is the tale of how Upton nearly had the blues.

Alan (Dearling)