bawn o'beirne ranelagh don't junk it - use it
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The Independent Online
Have you ever, while running a bath, been distracted - by a telephone call, or someone at the door, for example - and forgotten to turn off the taps, and flooded your bathroom and only known about it when the furious people who live in the flat below came up to scream about the water dripping through their ceiling, and they've sued you for the cost of replastering and redecorating the entire room?

Well, that need never happen again, for you can avoid such trauma for the cost of an abandoned plastic bottle and a piece of string - and you will be able to give any passing children a valuable lesson in Archimedes' principle, too.

1. Empty a plastic bottle and replace the cap securely.

2. Tie a short piece of string around the neck of the bottle. You could also use a long piece of string, but if you do, you will probably have to shorten it later.

3. Tie the other end of the string to the ring on the bath plug. (Actually, you will do better to read 4 and 6 before proceeding with 3. Then you will know how much string to leave between plug and bottle.)

4. Turn on the taps and wait for the bath to fill.

5. Answer the door, or have a good chat on the phone.

6. As the level of water approaches the critical mark, the bottle will be pulled under by the string and, in its struggle to reach the surface again, will pull out the plug - as long as you have judged the length of string correctly.

7. You can adjust the buoyancy of the bottle by adding some water inside if necessary.

8. Phone your local water company to complain about all the water they waste.