The Rain Room – A place where you don’t get wet ??

Saturday 1434 – 2nd February 2013

Last week I wrote about the 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge.    If you missed it you can read it here

I’ve been travelling today so I thought I’d cheat a bit and share some photos from the other thing that I did last Saturday when I was in Londonium. I visited The Rain Room Installation at the Barbican and it was every bit as good as I thought it would be or possibly even better.  There is a huge 2-3 hour queue because they only let 10-12 people in at a time  but I didn’t join it. I used my feminine wiles ( what do you mean at my age !! ) and my camera to gain entry….. well I do have an ankle problem too and standing around ain’t good for me so I don’t feel too bad about the queue jump!  Here’s a bit of spiel from the Barbican website –

“Known for their distinctive approach to digital-based contemporary art, Random International’’s experimental artworks come alive through audience interaction. Their largest and most ambitious installation yet, Rain Room is a 100 square metre field of falling water for visitors to walk through and experience how it might feel to control the rain. On entering The Curve the visitor hears the sound of water and feels moisture in the air before discovering the thousands of falling droplets that
respond to their presence and movement.”

Can you imagine the powerful noise of pouring rain getting louder and louder as you approach the Rain Room?

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Can you imagine the dampness in the air as you stand in the middle of what looks like rain pouring down around you?

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Can you imagine the powerful feeling of stopping the water from falling as you walk into it?

That’s exactly what these women are doing.

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 This women’s expression below, a cross between joy and awe, sums this feeling up.

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Can you imagine trying to capture the scene as you stand there, expecting to get wet but staying dry, everyone was trying to do just that. But sometimes it’s hard to capture an experience except in your memory..

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When you leave the room you certainly feel as though you have experienced a little bit of magic…

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How many of us haven’t wished we could stop the rain when it’s making us soaking wet?  Well in the Rain Room you can do just that.. 😀

Saturday Girl signing off now. Have a joyful week  but I hope not too much rain falls on you.. unless you need it where you are, of course 😉

If you’d like to read more about the Rain Room you can do so here

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already

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Flooding in a Drought

Saturday 1473 – 5th May 2012

I watched the FA cup final today with my son and was going to write about what a great victory Liverpool had over Chelsea but I’ve changed my mind… largely because they didn’t have any sort of victory over Chelsea let alone a great one !!!

So instead I’m going to write about (and show you a couple of photos of ) flooded Cambridgeshire in the middle of a drought and when there’s a hosepipe ban in most of the South East of England !!  If you think that doesn’t make sense read on.. ..

The last 18 months ( before April that is) have been the driest in East Anglia for 100 years. Apparently in a good year we only get 2/3rds of the average rain the rest of the UK gets. In 2011 we only got 2/3rds of 2/3rds if you get my drift! It’s serious in this region because we grow so many of the nations crops, for example a third of the nations potatoes.

Ironically a hose pipe ban was introduced by Anglian water on the 5th April and it hasn’t stopped raining since. April has been the wettest on record and there are floods everywhere. I wouldn’t want to be wading out to sit on these benches would you??

Heres a bit from Anglian Waters website where they explain why all this flooding has less of an impact on the “hidden drought” than we imagine it should –

“unfortunately, it’s not going to make much of a dent on underground water levels unless it persists for many more weeks, possibly months.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to refill our reservoirs, and some of them are recovering quite well. But the challenge we have is that they are starting from a very low level, following so many months of below average rainfall.

“Our aquifers – the water stores that you cannot see – are also starting from a very low level. The difficulty we have is that they take longer to be affected by rainfall, and that’s why these downpours won’t fundamentally change the situation.”

What happens to the rain?

  • At this time of year, a lot of rainfall is absorbed by growing trees and plants. When the weather gets warmer, much is also lost to evaporation.
  • The ground is very hard, because of the lack of rain over the last two years. This means that it takes longer for water to soak into the ground, with more water ‘running off’ into drains, rivers, and streams.
  • Once the soil does start to absorb the water, it acts like a dry sponge, recharging itself. Only once this ‘sponge’ is saturated can excess water start to make its way into aquifers.
  • Anglian Water captures a lot of the rain that flows into the rivers, and pumps it into reservoirs. Most of these have recovered well following the recent rainfall – but reservoirs only supply half of the drinking water we need in our region.

Ciaran continued: “We’ve got to be careful not to let the recent rainfall mask the ‘hidden drought’ that still exists in our groundwater stores. These aquifers are still notably low. It takes longer for them to be affected by drought, but it also takes longer for them to recover when it rains – many months, in some cases.”

But it’s not as straightforward as that. Anglian water admits on it’s website to leakage of 

“around six cubic metres per kilometre of pipe in our network. That’s compared to an industry average of just under 11 cubic metres”

and goes on to say that it will spend £14 million on tackling leakage. Their profits reported in June 2011 were said to be £709 million. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions!!!

I’m sure they’re not alone in either leakage or profit !   An article in The Independent as long ago as July 2010 stated that “3,300,000,000 litres are lost every single day through leakage”  

Yes that does say EVERY SINGLE DAY ! and I doubt that has improved enormously. if you’ve got time have a read as it goes on to say that water companies are restricted by the regulator Ofwat who dictates how much they can spend on leaks! Surely that can’t be right?? If it is the world has indeed gone mad!

My own personal water supply actually comes from Cambridge Water rather than Anglian water and 97% of the water supplied by them comes from underground aquifers but maybe because of better management of leaks?? we don’t actually have a “Temporary Usage Ban” as they call it though I don’t think it likely that anyone is going to be using a hosepipe for some time anyway !! 

Oh and this is what happens if you rely too much on your SatNav – There is a road under this car which is beside a pub where I had lunch with a friend of mine. The person who was driving it was apparently following their SatNav to get to the Pub – there are 2 roads and this is the wrong one !!!

SatNav users beware!

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What’s happening in your region weather wise?  Are you having extremes of weather too?  I’d be interested to hear your stories.

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Goodbye from Saturday Girl until next week or join me every day on my other blog Helen’s Photomania here   where you’ll find lots more photos.

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