Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday 5 October 2011

We're nine meals away from anarchy...

..but only one drink, it appears.

When pumps at a local reservoir failed, depriving a large housing estate of its supply, the authorities in Banbury responded by supplying 68,000 bottles of water to the area - the equivalent of twelve litres for every man, woman and child living in the estate.

Remember the '76 drought? All those people standing patiently in line, waiting to fill their bottles from the bowsers at street corners? Think again; welcome to Great Britain, 2011 AD*.
A water delivery driver in Oxfordshire was forced to abandon his supply of emergency bottles after he was threatened by a group of residents.
The contractor concerned was outnumbered by a group who verbally abused him and refused to allow him to take his delivery to another part of the estate - physically removing the bottles from his truck.
Desperate people taking desperate measures, perhaps? Well, not exactly; other areas of the town were unaffected and there was plenty of bottled water in the local supermarkets. In any case, according to an eye-witness“Kids have been coming down the street nicking water and throwing it over themselves.”

Bretch Hill does, it's fair to say, enjoy a certain notoriety; bus shelters traditionally have an average life of around two weeks, and elderly ladies returning from their weekly bingo night need security guards to protect them from being robbed of their meagre winnings by feral youngsters.

This, however, is something new and more sinister; the original estate population, once a proud and self-sufficient community (and I use the word in the real sense), is aging fast and what were a minority group of teenage thugs have grown up and passed their lack of social responsibility on to their numerous offspring.

There's something deeply depressing about the sight of police supervising the distribution of bottled water because some of the locals are incapable of behaving like civilised human beings; sadly, if the riots are anything to go by, unless something radical happens soon, this may well be the future of Britain.

*For anyone upset by this dating system, I'd like to point out that a) I'm an atheist, but that's the system I grew up with and I'm used to it and b) today is Wednesday, or rather Woden's Day; I don't believe in Woden and I bet you don't either, so what do you want me to do about that?


  1. Beat me to it, and almost the same post title as well although I always thought it was 3 meals away from agony

  2. Please don't let me stop you posting on this story - I look forward to reading it!

    As far as I know, it's a long-standing idea but the 'nine meals' (or three days) figure originates in a speech by the first head of the Countryside Agency*, while 'three meals' is from the world of science fiction:
    science fiction authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote in their 1977 cult book, Lucifer's Hammer, civilisation is "only three meals removed from savagery". h/t EU Referendum

    Or, if you prefer (and I do) Red Dwarf:
    Rimmer: "They say that every society is only three meals away from revolution. Deprive a culture of food for three meals, and you'll have an anarchy. And it's true, isn't it? You haven't eaten for a couple of days, and you've turned into a barbarian."

    *(caveat: here's my source, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024833/Nine-meals-anarchy--Britain-facing-real-food-crisis.html)

  3. Oh yes - welcome to the future. they already do this in Sicily and the scam is scandalous.

  4. "There's something deeply depressing about the sight of police supervising the distribution of bottled water because the locals are incapable of behaving like civilised human beings"

    Maybe an air-drop would have been more appropriate.

  5. Thank god I've got at least 12 meals in the freezer and about another 9 in the cupboard - you'll all have to start without me!

  6. JH, I've heard much the same about certain Greek Islands - and I've found out the hard way that that in Turkish Cyprus a handful of dinar will work wonders when it comes to getting a visit from the local water tanker.

    AKH; Banbury ain't no New Orleans, honey, but the result'd be the same, you betcha!

    Anyway, we all know what to do know when the balloon goes up - everyone round to Julia's!


Moderation is on as I’m having some technical difficulties with Comments