Britain's old men have been reminded that they live on islands on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean open to the winds and rain which sweep in from the west, propelled by the jet stream. It has been wet beyond recall. The wettest December and January for 200 years. Rivers have burst their banks, towns and villages flooded. One such village is Wraysbury in Berkshire, close to the River Thames, where 69 year old, Jack Stevenson, a former Concorde cabin manager, has emerged as one of the heroes of the flood, quietly keeping his part of the community glued together and solving problems.
What you possibly didn't know about Jack, that he :
* since his property, an uninsured bungalow, was one of the first to be flooded six days ago, has done everything from lifting a 93-year-old woman from her home, to fetching a much-wanted pack of Carlsberg for a stranded resident.
* has said : "The word biblical keeps coming to mind. This is Berkshire, England, and still there is more to come. In the quiet moments I want to cry and it is quite depressing, but somehow, even though I'm not a teenager, I dig deep and there's another gear."
* checks on an old couple who have not evacuated their property, 77 year old, Kris Jagden, a retired engineer and his wife, 73 tear old Ranjit, who said : "Jack has helped so much, we wouldn't have managed without him. He's give us moral support and all kinds of help."
Jack's simple acts of keeping people informed and checking on their needs are the very things that locals in Wraysbury have complained that the authorities have been unable to do in recent days. He is an example of a Britain we have almost lost.