Sometimes, when I’m wittering on about ingesting micro-plastics and potential droughts, I fear people think I’ve gone mad. Close friends and family members (maybe ESPECIALLY family members) have been known to do a spot of eye-rolling and mutter darkly about my being ‘off on one’.
But today, I’m feeling utterly exonerated because TWICE I’ve heard why we all need to be conserving water with RENEWED vigour. (If you’re wondering about my new love of the capital letter by way of emphasis, it’s because when my blog is in Facebook format all the bold and italics disappear, and I worry that my writing may lack some of its vitality).
I digress. So there I was this morning, zooming off in the Qashqai to do its MOT (it passed, hurrah!) when what should be being discussed on Radio 4’s ‘Today Programme’ but the hosepipe ban in England which is being introduced post-haste, much to the consternation of the bottom feeders who will merrily stand in a shower for forty minutes or leave a sprinkler on for 3 days so their wisteria doesn’t wither, while our reservoirs dry up.
The venerable John Humphries was in quare form, some would say positively gleeful, as he tried to probe an answer out of them as to whether it’s acceptable to throw wee over your plants as a means of watering them. (The clip is SO worth a listen: nip over to BBC I-player and shimmy along to 2 hours fifty minutes in and hear for yourselves. I haven’t heard him so animated in ages.)
I recall a hot summer while I was attempting to potty train my youngsters, and I took to flinging a pot of pee over our new hedges in the garden. I can’t say for certain if it did them any good but three years on and they’re not dead at least. (The hedges that is, not the children, they’re all still fine and exuberant and driving me to the Pinot Noir of an evening). I remember poor auld LSB attempting to slosh some pee down the loo when I grabbed his arm with a loud: ‘NOOOO, it’s for out the front!’ and noticing his eyes cloud over with a mixture of bemusement and fear. I later thought it would be a good line to begin my first novel: ‘It was the pot of piss that did for them in the end….’
Anyway, Nicci Russell from Waterwise suggested that we use our waste water from the shower to flush the loo (Go me! Was I not just saying exactly the same thing on the Frank Mitchell phone in at the start of June?) and she didn’t entirely write off the notion of using wee to water our plants, though she added the caveat that it may be best to avoid the vegetable patch. (I’d take a light smattering of pee over pesticides any day but maybe that’s just me.)
Later on today, I took my pair of melters (and trust me, this week they’ve been bloody awful) up to visit some friends, one of whom hails from Australia. He told me that the drought of 2007 in Brisbane was so severe that the government actually considered hacking off glaciers from Antarctica or importing water from China since the three reservoirs which provided the city’s drinking water had run dry. (I mean seriously, you couldn’t write it.) Residents diligently saved their shower water in buckets for the purposes of loo flushing and were exhorted to shove a brick down the cisterns of their toilets in an attempt to avoid a total drought. Thankfully it rained eventually so the extreme measures were never taken, but Paul for one, never rolls his eyes when I get enraged about people only half filling their washing machines.
So there you are. There wasn’t much to this blog post other than a smug ‘I told you so’ but many thanks if you’ve been bothered to read it anyway. If anyone would like to share their water saving methods or even post a photo of their slop-bucket or shower basin I would LOVE that.