In the week leading up to Christmas I drove to work in the dark and I drove home in the dark. No biggie, it's what happens at this time of year. On December 22nd it started raining and didn't really stop until the early hours of Christmas morning. The rain coincided with unusually strong tidal surges along the River Waveney. Throughout those commutes I hit standing water several times, which I don't mind admitting is a bloody scary thing to happen in the dark. I'm not talking puddles either. These were fast flowing, deep streams, moving across the carriageway and it got to the point where I just hoped for the best that I'd make it through some of them without flooding and stalling the car. While I made it by the skin of my teeth, others weren't so lucky and several vehicles stood abandoned by the side of the road. All this time, I was obviously aware of the ferocity of the weather conditions, but had no visual confirmation as I journeyed through the darkness. I was just grateful to make it to and from in one piece.
On Christmas morning I woke to a message from a friend checking in to see if I'd been affected by the floods. He'd read online that the emergency services had been on the scene in my town for the whole night. When I looked online myself, the first thing I saw was a photo of a fire engine standing in a very familiar location - directly outside my place. I went out for a wander in the warm sunshine and saw the devastation for myself. The worst flooding in this area for over 50 years by all accounts, for a while only one road remained passable in and out of town. Surreal scenes of streams, paths, fields and roads all gone, replaced by vast lakes. All the properties beyond mine in my street, down towards the river were either still under water or had sustained serious flood damage overnight and, as I walked around the outskirts of the town, the story was repeated again and again. It was terrible to see people having to salvage their saturated belongings on Christmas Day, particularly at the end of such a dreadful year. Just over a week later and the water has gone, but for the unfortunate households affected, the clean-up will take considerably longer.
Released in 1979 on the legendary Studio One label and produced by the equally legendary Coxsone Dodd, 'Flood Victim' rides the popular Real Rock riddim, well known to many for its use in Willie Williams' original recording of 'Armagideon Time'.