"January - a time for turning new leaves and for giving things up. Or for giving up turning new leaves. Those of you still suffering a hangover from 2003 may be interested to know that last year was the driest since the Romans. At the height of summer, the boating pond in the 'New' Park was down by 88%, mainly due to the pump being knackered again. The nearby River Chew actually started to flow backwards during August, such was the severity of the drought. The region's gardens were reduced to deserts, with dunes reaching heights of over 6 metres in some places, prompting off-roaders to 'Do a Paris-Dakar' down Chandag Road.
Even our town's shops felt the effects, with sun block selling out in March and Peacocks' shelves stripped of grotesquely-patterned shorts by early May. Ice cream was rare commodity by June, with Cornetto prices on e-bay reaching in excess of £40. At one stage the water shortage was so bad that alcohol sales in the local pubs were up by 2,500%, forcing the deployment of cider tankers to placate the frantic crowds. Even our roads began to decay into pot-holed dirt tracks as the temperatures soared. Had the December monsoons not arrived, experts predicted the town would have literally 'blown away on the breeze', such was the heat.
Thankfully the rains did come and normal service has been returned to Keynsham, with river levels at their highest for six centuries. And that's pretty much the picture for January - a deluge of rain that's set to continue well into the autumn. The weather office is advising anyone living within seven miles of the river to move to high ground, i.e. the roof of Tintagel Flats."