The Third Leader: Spring time

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The Independent Online

Sparkling, or rather still, news from Pocklington, where Mr and Mrs Hobson are now selling water from the spring in their back garden. The launch of Di Aqua is a tribute to several traditional Yorkshire mineral qualities, including grit, as the Hobsons sunk more than a few bore holes and more than a few thousand pounds before bottling the water.

And, for obvious, aboriginal reasons, there is always also an epic quality to water, its extraction and exploitation. One thinks of Moses in the Desert, Jean de Florette in Provence, Derek Trotter in Peckham, and Dasani, the Coca Cola product drawn from the famous tap in Sidcup. Oh, and hosepipe bans passim.

So perhaps Mr and Mrs Hobson have missed a bit of a trick with the name, even though it links with their jewellery business. Well, yes, Hobson's Choice; but I was thinking of past entrepreneurs, who would already have been planning a rival to Bath, Cheltenham, and nearby Harrogate: Pocklington Spa.

It does have a ring to it. But then so did, for a time, Beulah Spa, in the south London uplands, and other lost waters with names like Cairnwell, Lyncomb and Glastonbury, victims of the almost final decline in taking the waters in later Victorian Britain.

The Bath Spa has finally opened; might not this be Pocklington's moment? A claim other than being the last place in England to burn a witch should be welcome. But water, as we know, is an uncertain business. It's unlikely, and heaven forfend for the Hobsons, but we might just decide to stop paying for it twice and give the tap a turn again. Cheers.

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