Dirty Old Town?

It was a weekend of differing activities; peace and relaxation for the parents with hikes, tents, and campfires for the boy. A lovely time was had by all and the adults returned well rested and well-glowing from the heat-inducing steam room and jacuzzi. While the boy had the high colour and spirits of one who had spent some time camping in the great outdoors.

While our clothing returned as clean and intact as they were when we embarked on our trip the same cannot be said for the boy! Sodden wet and many-layered he was, with hiking boots that were adorned with what must have been half of  Wicklow bogland.

These boots were made for walking you see, and walking was exactly what they did. Through every mucky puddle, streaming rivulet and the boggiest of land they could find. 

And guess who had the 'honour' of restoring them to their former glory? Why, that would be me of course. The 'holiday' was well and truly over as the operation began! 

It took time and a lot of water to make this operation a success; a bucket filled with 2 kettle-fulls of hot water per boot with a pre and post wash hose-down. 'To boot' one might say....

As I toiled away I got to thinking about the new Water Charges being imposed on us shortly and was thankful that they weren't already in place. I thought about them again as all the muddy clothes were pre-rinsed in the sink before being machine washed and as a long hot shower was taken to restore heat and health to cold and wet teenage bones. 

Water is a natural resource, that costs a lot to transform into the drinking quality that currently flows freely through our taps. Perhaps there are some merits to charges being put in place to ensure conservative use, and to pay for the leaky pipes that allows litres of our precious natural resource to seep away. And us living in one of the rainiest countries in the world.

Of course I don't believe that's why these charges are being put in place. We are still doing what we are told to do by the Troika and IMF (As a now senior Politician once said of the IRA: 'they haven't [really] gone away you know) and seemingly turning what should be a public service into a profitable business? For future re-sale? 

Nor do I totally agree with the ex-politician who recently likened it to paying for satellite TV. At least with satellite TV you get to choose a provider and a package that suits your budget, or you can simply invest in a once off payment.

Some of us can make choices with our waste collection providers too.

It did take a while and after a rebellion by a lot of citizens eventually, we as a nation, did accept the waste collection charges. Even though initially some did try to dispose of their waste themselves by dead of night, either in fields and hedgerows or in their neighbours newly obtained wheelie bins!

I predict that our nation as a whole will find creative ways to conserve our water usage. Whether we're paying for it or not it is right that we do conserve. It's how we're going to do it that really concerns me.

I suspect (at least I hope!) that there are many of my generation who had to conserve hot water and heating, and who cowered in fear of the bellowed words 'who left that immersion on?! Daily toilettes and regular showers are more our routine, although our children do get more than just a weekly bath. (Please note though, no-one should ever under-estimate the restorative powers and sensory inputs of a long daily shower after an exhausting school day. (It is an absolute necessity for some ASD kids.)

We really don't like to waste stuff so this conservation lark comes naturally to us, although no doubt we will now strive to do some more.

How else do we cut back though? We already only use the dish washer and washing  machine when they're full. Forgive me but, do we treat the toilet in the same way and only flush when it's full too? After all it is estimated that it could cost you €163 per annum with 3 people flushing 4 times a day. 

Do we use the same bucket of hot water to wash all floors instead of changing when it gets too dirty to be of any benefit? Do we then cut back on how well we clean the mop afterwards, and all our cleaning cloths? Cut back on the quick pre-rinsing of dishes and pots and pans so that they're never cleaned properly? We can certainly cut out rinsing our waste recycling. Or how about barely cleaning that chopping board after it's been used to chop raw chicken?

Perhaps we can shower less often too, or perhaps share the same personal washing water?

I fear that these are some of the methods that will be employed by our cash-strapped citizens and that should be of real concern for those enforcing these costs on us.

And how on earth do our  hospitals, who are seriously over-budget, afford to pay for any water charges let alone reduced ones?? Any water conservation in our hospitals could have disastrous consequences. I would hope that our hospitals will have a waiver, but what about other care facilities e.g. nursing homes? 

These were the thoughts coursing through my mind as I did the post-scout weekend clean up. 
Coincidentally within 3 hours of completing this task, and also after unwittingly picking up some suspect feline nastiness, I suddenly became mysteriously ill and was in bed with a very sick tummy for 24 hours. I did wash my hands and of course it could have just been a tummy bug, or a delayed reaction from donating blood the previous week, but no-one else in my house became ill. It really brought this whole issue home for me.

So yes, perhaps it is as right that we pay for our water as we do our waste collections.

However it is not only right but essential that our water conservation is not counter-productive, making us ill in the process. 

We absolutely must ensure cleanliness in the household and in our hospitals and care facilities.

Otherwise our whole nation is at risk at becoming a 'Dirty Old Town'

And that would not be good.



  1. I think it's outrageous to compare water to satellite TV - you can live without TV, but you can't live without water :(

    1. @Looking for Blue Sky: I thought it was outrageous too. I read it recently but couldn't find an online link to it. I did find a link to what she, Liz McManus, said about Water Tax approx 2/3 years ago though..... she said we'd be better off spending the money needed to install meters etc on fixing the leaky pipes! xx

    2. Well I certainly agree with that comment by her xx

  2. Don't you love it when government tries to be our mommy, daddy, and nanny, and takes away our choices? But I think you have a lovely attitude about it, and applaud you for that!

    1. @jeanette Levellie: Yeah, it's the same the world over, isn't it? Thank you....and thanks for visiting :-) xx

  3. The water thing really scares me. You can live on very little food even but water is so essential to our way of lives. They say the next generation of wars is going to be about water. On a brighter note - those shoes came up amazingly clean, well done.

    1. @Midlife Singlemum: That is so true and it IS scary how families are going to try and cope. Thanks, I was surprised that they did! They are expensive (he must have good hiking boots for safety reasons) so I was determined to get them as good as new. xx

  4. If we just spent some money on replacing the ancient pipes as Liz McManus suggested, then that would be a start! :) Well done with those shoes, they look new! :)

  5. @BavarianSojourn: Absolutely! But we must do what we are told you see, we must follow our European leaders' edicts....
    The boots ARE new and I'm relieved that they still look that way! xx

  6. Oh my- the mind of people who run things is sometimes difficult to fathom. And great job with the shoes!

  7. Those boots came up very well indeed... and as for water, we wouldn't exist without it. I think of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote in particular where they desalinate the sea - is it the way for us to go!? X

  8. Gosh, you seemed to be paying out hand over fist for everything AND losing benefits of any kind along the way. Not a great way to live. Wow, you certainly did a good job of those shoes and it's great to hear that you all had a lovely time.

  9. @Bavarian Sojourn: Yes, it would! But they want to ultimately make money I reckon so they need to control it. Plus The Troika are telling us we must come inline with rest of Europe and impose a property tax (which we've done) and a Water Tax ( which we're about to do.) Irish water has announced just today that they are to invest €1.9 bn in improving our water infrastructure and are confident they can get the money due to their linked business... Bord Gais (Gas Board) see??!! profit making business is the aim. A resellable asset...

    @Shelly: It sure is... and Governments never listen to the little people! Thanks.

    @Older Mum: Interesting point. But that costs too. They'll invest with the aim to make money, in my opinion.

    @Bright Side of Life: That's totally it! This Water Tax will be the final straw for some families who are struggling as it is.... and that includes families who have paid employment. the 'working poor' they're called :-(

    Thanks for all your comments :-)


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