Anyway, her and my brother-in-law went their separate ways and we never saw her again. Except on television, a lot. And so it was that our own experience as flood victims and “Mary Dhonau” became conflated in our heads. Comes the rain, and comes Mary. Local TV and the River Severn love her. For seven years Anne and I have had a running joke whenever the 6 o'clock news covers flooding. “Things are bad. The situation is grim. Mary Donhau will be on later, stood by a river, talking bollocks.”
And so it was. Except tonight. Except tonight Mary took an ox-bow loop away from her usual platitudes about Blitz-style stoicism and the need to do something. Instead she made an impassioned plea to stop excoriating the Environment Agency and Chris Smith and to recognise what an amazing job they were doing in the most difficult of circumstances. Shamelessly political and wavering of voice, in an anorak with the hood up. Good game, very well played.