Oh, To Be in
My buddy and his wife came over last Friday (she's a friend, too, but it's easier to refer to them that way) and we spent much of the week showing them around England. I find I enjoy showing off my new home to people from the States. It brings me back to the time when everything here was new and exciting and re-impresses upon me how, for all its foibles, England is a lovely place to be.
They returned home yesterday, which is too bad because today is the first truly nice day we've had this long, wet, gray spring. The week they were here wasn't bad--it rained a bit but most days were comfortable if slightly cool--and it's just as well they came when they did, for they are predicting rain tomorrow and all next week. Actually, my friends arrived at the right time; they just went home a day too soon.
And today is glorious. The sky is clear and blue, the sun warm and bright. It's wonderful to sit out here with a beverage and a nice cigar, enjoying the sights and smells of spring. It's the kind of day that let's me know I made the right decision in moving here.
I know none of the above is funny, so maybe you'll find this humorous, or at least ironic: despite the rain and the standing water in the fields and the overflowing rivers, we are in the middle of a drought so severe they are threatening to cut off our water and dole it out to us like petrol during the war.
The government keeps telling us about how dry it's been, but they aren't fooling anybody. We've had drier years, we just haven't had a year this dry with the extra 14 million people the government moved down here without bothering to upgrade the water system.
The current water infrastructure seems to have been put in by the Tudors and doesn't appear to have been improved upon since the American colonies revolted. I have read that one third (that's right one out of every three gallons) of the water in our system is lost through leakage. I did not make that statistic up, though I'm not saying somebody else didn't, but still, they do lose a significant amount before it even starts trickling out of our faucets.
You might think a few rolls of Duct tape would do a lot more toward solving our water shortage than a sustained deluge.
The strategy for now is to encourage us to not waste any water--showers instead of baths, don't let the tap run while brushing your teeth, etc.--but I don't think these measures go far enough. I'm not thrilled with the idea of queuing up at the local standpipe to receive my daily allotment of H2O, so I have come up with a few suggestions of my own:
- Shower with your clothes on. This not only uses less water than a bath, but also keeps you from having to run your washer. And if you jog around the block until your clothes dry, there is a bonus benefit to the power company and the National Health Service as well.
- Don't wash your car. I'm proud to say I've been pioneering this water-saving technique for many years.
- You'd be amazed how many times you can wear your underpants without having to wash them, especially if you turn them inside out once each week.
- Drink beer; there's no shortage of that.
- To lessen the amount of laundry people have to do, institute mandatory topless days at work.
- Encourage people to move to Liverpool.
- Don't wash your dirty dishes. Save them until it rains, then take them out into the garden. And if you soap yourself up, you get a bonus shower, as well.
- When you go away on holiday, bring back a few jerry cans of water as souvenirs.
- Assign each district designated 'bath' days and have all the residents stand naked on the sidewalk while the local fire brigade drives slowly past spraying them with the hose.
- Go on a booze cruise and bring back cases of cheap wine to use in your cistern. If you can't buy enough cheap wine, use American beer; that's about all it's good for.
Feel free to add your own. If we all pull together we'll get through this; perhaps not smelling like a rose, but through it nonetheless.
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