Look At It This Way - August 14, 2015

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Talk about tapping into the nation’s psyche…

The water crisis has been a turn off in every sense. I’m sick of reading about it (sorry!) but I’m glad I read of it – albeit a day late – and have not been sick. Yet. The bug could still be incubating.

Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink – unless you’ve boiled it or bottled it... or rather bought the bottled stuff.

People seem to fall into four camps. The gung ho ‘we’re going to drink it anyway’. The ‘get a grip; this is nothing to what they go through in the third world’. The ‘go boil your head; we can’t all be holier than thou’. Then there are those who have totally bottled it and stocked up for a nuclear winter or fracking autumn.

I’m somewhere between sanctimonious and scared. I’ve invested in my share of clean water for people I’ve never met in lands I’ll never see via charities I’m glad to support. But I didn’t bank on seeing specialist workers from a local charity delivering bottled water to their most at-risk or isolated 
clients this week.

I’m glad they did because one was a 94-year-old lady I met some weeks ago and I’d wondered whether she’d kept apace of the news. She hadn’t. And at that age you really don’t want to fall ill, or have to keep boiling water for the most routine tasks – including taking your meds. Or having to cart a carton of bottled water back from the shops – if they haven’t all sold out. It’s heavy work. Sometimes it’s hard just to open the bottles.

I can still boil pans and kettles without scalding myself. If anything there’s a greater risk of fire as I forget I’ve left them on. But my mum has arthritis and her hands go into spasm. She 
also takes more than 20 tablets a day for heart and kidney failure and needs a glass of water a time with some.

It’s like a military exercise. So factoring in extra time to boil and cool water to drink is a pain in the backside but could be a much bigger one if she didn’t do it. She’s already lost a chunk of colon to a surgeon’s bungling so we really don’t want to add a poo-borne parasite to the mix.

I know there are millions of people without clean water to drink but I don’t want my mum to be one. Or anyone else who’s elderly or vulnerable by dint of social isolation or lack of mobility.

Some of these people literally can’t get a grip.

I’ve got a memory like a goldfish so I started the day boiling up water then waiting for it to cool enough to place two eggs in, and then bring to the boil again. Three minutes later, I ran both under the cold water tap to cool them down. Oops. Eggs have a porous shell. Ah well. We ate them.

I went to clean my teeth, dip, rinse, swill in bottled water – then ran my toothbrush under the tap. Doh! Had to boil more water to sterilise it. I’ve dumped three tooth brushes this week. Home Bargains are making a small fortune out of me with toothbrushes, mouth wash, bottled water and hand sanitizer. It’s a matter of time before I start lining all the bottles up so labels face the same direction…

The boiled water vanished into my mum’s tea cup – with a tea bag. So I reached for the hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse and realised it had to be diluted. Off, lickety spit, for some clean water, trapped within a plastic water cavern with its bottled brethren, near impossible to remove without stabbing scissors into the side. Ow. Then break into bottle. Ow. Rigid plastic top. Take a swig to recover and squirt into eye instead thanks to ‘sports’ nozzle. Ow.

All that and I thought I was going to get mugged for my bottled water the other day when I stocked up on cash from a bank machine.

Forget abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It’s the least of my problems.

Bravo to Bob ... a man of principle

When the magistrates are revolting – in the nicest possible sense – you know the legal system is in trouble. And that’s aside from all the legal aid protests– and the number of offenders not even making it to crown prosecution consideration.

So bravo Bob Hutchinson (pictured below) for stepping down on principled grounds from Blackpool and Fylde magistrates bench after 11 years of looking law breakers in the face and trying to do something about it.

Quitting is one heck of a public stand to make against the rigidity of rules which dictate choices available – forcing justices into a corner where they may have to make decisions which they know could place the community at risk, as well as impose charges on offenders which will in all likelihood be written off by the courts, after costly chasing up and time wasting.

Then there’s the plan to form a single county-wide bench leading to yet more missed hearings or wasted court time or no shows from offenders who couldn’t make their way to the wardrobe to find their best suit – let alone get from Blackpool to Burnley or Ormskirk.

The law isn’t an ass. It’s a revolving door. But I wish someone would talk Bob into coming back.

We need more magistrates prepared to speak out.