And now for something completely infuriating

By Charlotte Hofton

Published on Friday, April 13, 2012 - 11:14


THE VIEW FROM HERESOUTHERN Water has, as yet, spared the Island from its hosepipe ban, though we are being urged to avoid wasting water around the home and, particularly, in the garden.

Other customers around the country are not so fortunate. Most of Southern Water’s mainland customers are now affected by hosepipe restrictions, while six other companies have also imposed a ban.

People get pretty niggly about hosepipe bans and you cannot altogether blame them. While the prevailing drought is no fault of the water companies, their attitude does not always invite sympathy or a feeling the best is being done in difficult circumstances.

Where water is metered, customers who are frugal should see a reduction in charges on their bills. Do you suppose water companies will thus give a discount on the bills of those who are charged standard water rates but who are allowed only limited use of the very commodity for which they have paid? Like heck they will.

What is most likely to make customers raise two fingers to the hosepipe ban, however, is the outrageous waste of water perpetrated by the companies themselves. The water industry in England and Wales loses 3.36 billion litres a day in leaks. If those leaking pipes were fixed, they would save enough water to supply 22.4 million people (that’s over a third of the entire population of England and Wales) every day.

Still, if that all makes you cross, these hosepipe bans can also be good for a laugh.

You’re allowed, for instance, to use a hosepipe for "cleaning the walls of domestic premises in the course of a business where the purpose of cleaning is the removal of graffiti."

Yes, I can see the removal of graffiti could be a priority. Particularly if it said "Stuff Southern Water" in big letters.

But what ultimately reduces the whole thing to a Monty Python level is the edict which states that while you can water your garden using a watering can, you must not fill your can via a hosepipe. The water (the same amount of water that will be used however you obtain it) must come direct from the tap.

As I write this, it’s tipping down outside. That probably means the IW can expect a hosepipe ban at any minute. I don’t know if you’re allowed to hose down your dead parrot while the ban is in force but I expect Southern Water can give us a ruling on the matter.

A bit less bottom waving, Mrs Panda

I’M sorry the mating season of Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, ended in failure. Mrs Panda seems to have been up for it but I’m afraid her hubby was a complete dope.

Although, according to one report, he "rubbed his head all over her tree" (and I don’t wish to know if that is a euphemism), he did very little else, except slouch around eating bamboo.

She, on the other hand, "waved her bottom at him and performed handstands".

OK, I think I see where the problem lies. Tian Tian is a chunky lady. There is, of course, nothing wrong in being chunky. I myself am more panda than gazelle but I know my limitations.

Take my advice, Tian Tian. Cut out the bottom waving and handstands next time. It was a valiant effort but, let’s face it, it just made your bits wobble about.

I recommend you lie on a sofa, flutter those gorgeous eyes of yours, and let your daft husband do the rest. And don’t allow his head anywhere near your tree until he does.

Shopping, golf, but at least the bar was shut until 12.30

I applaud businesswoman Nicola Horlick, who is vehemently against Sunday trading. "I think Sunday is a family day," she says. "The whole of Britain now thinks it’s all about shopping. Sunday has lost a lot of its charm and family element because people are so obsessed with shopping."

She’s absolutely right. Is there any more depressing sight than the family’s Sunday outing to the supermarket, all whining kids and greed-laden trolleys? You don’t have to be religious to think there should be times when commercialism is hushed, though if you do have such scruples, it must be even more galling at times.

Good Friday used to be a no-no for any kind of commercial dealing. Even golf clubs would be shut, though when I mentioned this to one chap who was off to the course on this most solemn day, he was swift to defend his club.

"In fairness," he said, "they’re not opening the bar until 12.30."

I’m sure Jesus, hanging on the cross in agony for six hours, would be gratified to know the golf club had acknowledged his sacrifice by holding back on their midday tinctures until 12.30.

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