Hold the Eau de Paris (unless it's in whisky)

We used the water filter for a couple of weeks but in the end got fed up and used it as a vase

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As marketing initiatives go, the decision by the Paris water board to change its corporate image and rename the company Eau de Paris in the hope of persuading bottled water addicts to switch to tap water is a stroke of pure genius. I don't think it would work here. London Water doesn't have quite the same appeal. On the contrary London Water has a distinctly sanitary ring to it, reminding you that every drop of water that comes out of the tap all gets flushed down the lavatory and is recycled seven times before it eventually hits Old Father Thames and gets shuffled sluggishly out to sea.

As marketing initiatives go, the decision by the Paris water board to change its corporate image and rename the company Eau de Paris in the hope of persuading bottled water addicts to switch to tap water is a stroke of pure genius. I don't think it would work here. London Water doesn't have quite the same appeal. On the contrary London Water has a distinctly sanitary ring to it, reminding you that every drop of water that comes out of the tap all gets flushed down the lavatory and is recycled seven times before it eventually hits Old Father Thames and gets shuffled sluggishly out to sea.

I don't drink water. I know I should, at least three litres a day if I want my inside to look like the gleaming engine of a brand new five-series BMW rather than the clogged and blackened and mechanical infrastructure of an industrial loom in a Victorian cotton mill. The fact is I don't like water and rarely drink it unless it is topping up a large whisky.

The man who used to live in the flat below us was briefly employed as a salesman for a company that sold water purifiers. I was his first customer. I agreed to buy the wretched thing only to stop his interminable sales spiel about how many chemicals and other alien additives it was filtering out and how much better it tasted. To my admittedly untutored palate it didn't.

The water that came out of the purifier tasted exactly the same as the tap water that had gone into it, but I felt sorry for him - he was a hopeless salesman - so I dutifully went through the motions. Like a wine taster I took a thoughtful sip, smacked my lips, said mmmm, squealed excitedly and lied through my teeth. We used it for a couple of weeks, meticulously changing the filter bags as instructed and keeping it clean and cool and covered but, in the end, like all the other innovative gadgets that have passed through my kitchen, yoghurt makers, slow cookers, organic juicers, we got fed up and used it as a vase.

There are few fates worse than being cornered by a water bore. I know because as a junior reporter in a place long since vanished called Fleet Street, I had the misfortune to sit next to one. He was the newspaper's resident food writer, vertical tastings co-ordinator and restaurant critic. We were all multi-taskers in those days, none of this specialist nonsense. I did children's fashions, gossip, posh weddings and watered the sports editor's tomato plants.

So anyway, Justin, as I shall call him, was the archetypal foodie with a particular interest in bottled water. He could bore for Britain, and often did, on the size of the bubbles in Badoit, the earthiness of Evian, the purity of Perrier, the viscosity of Vichy. He once devised a series of menus suggesting not suitable wine but suitable water to accompany each course, which made a bit of a splash. He was invited on to a few chat shows. Personally I thought it a load of tosh but said nothing. Justin was inundated with food parcels from farmers, manufacturers, chefs, shops looking for a write-up and I frequently went home with enough supper for a family of six in my handbag.

The extraordinary thing about bottled-water anoraks is that while lecturing you at length about the dangers of tap water they are usually stuffing their faces with junk food. It's the marketing, of course, all that blurb about virgin springs and pictures of Scottish mountains and sparkling waterfalls. The last Scottish waterfall we trekked to for a family picnic had a dead sheep in it, its mouth gaping in a hideous grin presumably because it had found that the water's crystal purity combined with the naturally beneficial mineral deposits made the water both delicious and healthy.

Frankly I couldn't give a toss if 53 per cent of Parisians continue to spend 300 times more for bottled water than for the new improved re-branded Eau de Paris. Irrespective of taste and cost you can't argue with the fact that lugging home six massive bottles of spa water from the supermarket is exercise and exercise is healthy. If I were a businesswoman I would bottle the water we get from our very own Highland springs under our holiday house on the Isle of Lismore in Scotland and flog it to my London friends. There's no mains water on the island - you have to make your own arrangements. Everyone who has been to stay says it tastes wonderful. "Just like the stuff you buy in Tesco," said one enthusiastically.

We could use old wine bottles to put it in. Wine into water: now that does sound like a miracle.

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