Dwindling supplies


I have been up to Yorkshire again to see family and go to the seaside. We had fish and chips for the first time in three years and I was astonished to find that they cost £10 per person.

They are getting ready for a hosepipe ban in Yorkshire next week. Do you remember the hot summer of 1976? I lived in south Shropshire then in a little village relying on a bore hole. Our water supply never ran out but some of the nearby villages did and had to send tankers to get water from us. The drought lasted three months. I remember my outdoor tomatoes had a bumper crop.

Because of the heat we have had this year, our tomatoes are doing well again, and we have aubergines dripping off the plant. The courgettes and cucumbers are bountiful as well. Every cloud has a silver lining as they say, but the best lining they could have this year would be one full of rain.

In Yorkshire my sister has been watering her lawn to keep it green and is disappointed that she will have to stop. But grass is remarkable in that it can recover because it grows from the base and not from a tip growing point. When we keep cutting it, we get a thicker turf. Generally, the more you cut it the more you get.

But of course, the more we use our water the less we have. The Yorkshire water bill came with a list of things they can do to save water. ‘Put full loads in your washing machine and use the eco setting. Have a shower not a bath and use a water butt for plants.’

 In 1976 we were advised to share our bath water. And an old joke went round saying ‘Save water – use an eye bath’. We were also told to turn the taps off when brushing our teeth.

At home here we have an old well complete with bucket and rope to bring up the water which is a long way down this summer. You can see a line from the well, leading up to the house, showing the track of the old pipe bringing water to the kitchen. But now we use water piped from reservoirs which in Shropshire are in the Peak District.

We went to see Lake Vyrnwy yesterday which supplies Liverpool. The water level is shrinking rapidly, and I even saw a wall from the village which was submerged to make this reservoir. It was like the seaside with large areas of dry sand and pebbles with children playing. There were no fish and chips though, at any price.

The 'beach' at Lake Vyrnwy seen through foreboding trees.


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