Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

tap waterIn a country where it falls from the sky almost every day, it’s not surprising to find that Irish people do not pay a water bill. But it also gives one pause when the water stops flowing.

There have been interruptions in the water supply in Athlone lately with the tap going dry every evening at 7pm until the next morning at 7am. On the weekends, it’s worse. They say the problem could continue for more than a month.

Not only is this a pain when I get home late from work and find that I cannot shower – I also cannot brush my teeth, wash my hands, make any boiled dish (a catastrophe in a country where most meals involve boiling of some kind). We have a one-year-old whose needs include water on demand at strange hours. If you think we’ve got it bad, imagine what the pubs are going through at night. Here’s a funny anecdote about something that happened to me last weekend:

I was playing music in a pub that night. I was on my own for the set-up and had worked up a sweat ducking under tables to run leads not to mention lugging the heavy equipment through the close environs of a crowded pub. What’s more, my partner in crime was running late and I was beginning to sweat a bit over that, worrying that I’d be on my own. When he showed up just before we were due to play, I went to the bar to order us something to drink. I was going to avoid alchohol, as I had to be up for work the next morning.

“I’ll have a pint of Guinness and two pints of water, please.” I requested.

“No hassle on that Guinness, but no can do on the water, I’m afraid,” came the reply.

Shite. No water! I’d forgotten. I was parched – literally dying of thirst. I turned to the other musician and explained our situation. A huge grin spread across his face,

“I guess it’s pints all around, so!”

The only thing I’m wondering is, if there’s no water, how are the pubs washing those glasses?