i Editor's Letter: The hosepipe ban


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The Independent Online


In just a few days, the hosepipe ban has radically changed my outlook on life. Normally, the prospect of a cold, wet Easter would be cause for bitter complaint in the Summerley household. Yesterday morning, however, I opened the blinds and heaved a small sigh of satisfaction at the sight of a thin drizzle.

I'm sorry if it's spoilt your holiday weekend, but for me it's a relief to see rain, and even more satisfying to see that we're forecast to get more over the next few days.

I open my garden for charity at the end of August, so I have to admit that the thought of not being able to use a hosepipe is a little daunting.

But is it really that bad? Most of the things I grow are pretty drought-tolerant. It's only at this time of the year, when I'm rejigging bits of the garden, or replacing winter casualties, that watering becomes an issue. So long as I have access to a watering can, and get things off to a good start, I'll be fine.

My neighbours, who are staunch supporters of my open day (I open for the National Gardens Scheme on 26 August), have told me that they won't snitch if they see me surreptitiously saturating the soil. This is sweet of them, but I don't think I'll be tempted. Hosepipe bans are not – as some would have you believe – a fiendish device invented by the water authorities solely to frustrate those who want to wash their cars or fill their pools.

They are a warning that a vital resource is running low, and if a ban is enough to make us think about how we use (or more likely squander) water, then that's good.

Talking of neighbours, how well do you know yours? I'm lucky enough to know quite a few by name, but a survey by Findaproperty.com reveals that only one in four in the UK can name a neighbour. i writer Tim Walker  was inspired by these statistics to find out whether his neighbourhood was as unfriendly as London is often reputed to be.

Have a good bank holiday!