25 November 2012

This week’s edition seems to have a water-related theme.

A special, personal note to those of you who used to live in the UK but now reside elsewhere: cast your minds back to what you recollect about the worst aspects of British weather – those days when it was cold but not freezing, when the sky has a consistent dark, dull grey shade to it and the rain lashes down incessantly so that the roads flood and merely looking out the window at the downpour is enough to soak you through several layers. That’s what the weather has been like for much of the week. Unmitigated misery – it rained, and rained, and rained and then rained some more.

On our walk on Tuesday afternoon (Molly’s walk, actually because there is no reason on earth other than satisfying the needs of our four-legged companion that we would have ventured out on such a miserable day) we came home absolutely sodden. Now, when it’s been a miserable walk and we both come home covered with mud and soaked through, we go through a by now well-rehearsed routine – Molly jumps out of the car and, when summoned to the outside faucet, she adopts a willing but less than cheerful posture so that she can be hosed down. When we finish one side she somewhat reluctantly turns so that the other side can similarly be rinsed. As I say, this is a well-rehearsed routine which the pair of us could probably perform in our sleep.

On Tuesday, however, although we were both soaked and caked in mud, she obstinately refused to adopt the requisite posture. In her mind I’m sure she was saying, “Look! I’m already absolutely positively bloody soaking wet – why the f**k are you proposing to turn the f**king hose on me? No way, José!” And thus it went – as I summoned her brandishing the gushing hose in hand, she calmly turned her back and walked in the other direction. In the end I had to adopt my very cross and stern voice and only then did she grudgingly comply.

And while I am on the subject of Tuesday’s walk, since the sky was a dark grey and the rain was sheeting down, by 4.00 pm it was very, very dark. OK – where is all that daylight we saved during the summer now that we really need it?

Water, water everywhere!And speaking as I was of rain and water, on Monday we had to collect as much water in as many appropriate receptacles as we could muster so that we could survive the day without a fresh water supply. Anglian Water, the privatised monopoly which supplies our water, had sent a note round the village announcing that they would be “flushing” the pipes on Monday at some point between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm and that we would have no running water for some or all of that period. So, we gathered a number of containers and filled them all with water, ready for all those cups of tea and coffee we might wish to consume during the day. I can’t say our preparations were successful – the water never went off. Whether that means our pipes remain unflushed, I couldn’t say.

And, continuing our water-related theme, two weeks ago I had a reference to the Toilet Museum in South Korea so I was intrigued to learn that last Wednesday was World Toilet Day, a serious event to raise awareness of the huge numbers of people in the world without easy access to a simple hygienic toilet.

More people in Delhi own a mobile phone than have access to a toilet at home; globally, poor sanitation kills more people than HIV and AIDS, malaria and measles combined, according to the charity Whatever the Need.

The Guardian had a gallery of photos and you can find out more about World Toilet Day here. To cap it all off you can read about the poo-powered solar toilet which won the prize in the Reinvent the Toilet challenge sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Nick sent me this link on Wednesday 21 November which is 21-11-12 as we would write it in Europe and is, of course, a palindrome. My personal favourite?

Tarzan raised Desi Arnaz’ rat

And finally, today, of course, is the anniversary of the marriage of Ms Penelope Playchute and the exceedingly fortunate and thoroughly undeserving Charles Gregory. Some of you will remember that crisp November day forty years ago at the Eddy’s farm just outside Hartford, Connecticut (and, in case you don’t, we still have the frightening photographic evidence to prove it). Some of you will be able to spot and maybe even recognise yourselves.

25 November 1972
Hardly changed at all!

Who would have guessed it?

Much love to you all,



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