Hosepipe ban

Confessions of a lawn obsessive

For the past few days I’ve been frantically watering my lawn in anticipation of the London hosepipe ban. True, there are other things in the garden that need watering – the roses, the magnolias, the rhododendrons, as well as the tomato plants, the rosemary bushes and the olive tree. But I can probably manage to get round them with my watering can once the ban kicks in and in any case it’s the lawn that’s my pride and joy. Gazing at the stripes after it’s just been mown is one of life’s great pleasures as I settle into late middle age. When Caroline and I first looked round our house

Should you grass on a neighbour who breaks the hosepipe ban?

We know many water companies are themselves guilty of profligate waste through unrepaired leaks. So to snitch on a neighbour, who is making a comparatively tiny personal contribution to the drought, seems petty. But we are only human and it is hard to watch your flowers and vegetables wither and die while your neighbour is still drenching his own produce with gay abandon. If you have a smart water meter you might be more careful about over-use as Big Brother is watching you. Candy, a wife and mother of three in my nearby town, showed me her own bill for water use. It announced that her total water use was

Ross Clark

Water woes: who’s to blame for the shortages?

For residents of the London borough of Islington whose homes were flooded this week by a burst water main, Thames Water’s decision to announce a hosepipe ban the following day must have come across as a sick joke. Just a few days before the flood, the company sent out an email asking its customers to be a ‘hot spell hero’. ‘Every drop you save really is another drop more in your local river or reservoir.’ But Thames Water seemed unable to follow its own advice: five million litres of water were lost during the leak. The episode neatly encapsulated much of what is wrong with Britain’s water industry: crude, 1940s-style

Will ‘hosepipe ban’ make it into the dictionary?

‘Got any ’ose?’ asked my husband, falling into his Two Ronnies ‘Four Candles’ routine, in which he likes to play not only the shopkeeper but also the customer, with disastrous results. In both the pantyhose and the garden hose in the sketch, the hose was originally the same word. Hose meant the leggings or trousers our Germanic forefathers wore. In some contexts it long retained the archaic plural hosen. When Nebuchadnezzar in his rage commanded Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be thrown into the burning fiery furnace, they were bound ‘in their coats, their hosen, and their hats’, according to the translation of 1611. In the pleasantly named A Pisgah-sight

Portrait of the week: Energy bills up, NHS waiting lists down and hosepipes off

Home Energy bills will be £4,266 for a typical household by January, according to the consultancy Cornwall Insight, which had put the sum at £3,616 only a week earlier. Ofgem had decided since then to shorten the period over which suppliers can recover their costs. Gordon Brown, prime minister 2007-10, declared that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, and Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, competitors to succeed him, must hold an emergency Budget to deal with the ‘financial timebomb’ of energy prices. ‘If they do not,’ he said, ‘parliament should be recalled to force them to do so.’ Liz Truss, in an interview with the Financial Times, said she would help