Remember the days when you worried about drinking tap water on holiday?
A jaunt across the English Channel, and parents would fret about children opening their mouths in the shower, panic over the thought of brushing their teeth, and stock up on bottled water, ‘just in case.’
Who’d have guessed that one day you’d have to apply the same rules when preparing for a trip up north?
I learned of the news via social media, initially confused as to why all my friends back home were adding links to United Utilities’ website on their Facebook page. One day of sun, and a hosepipe ban had been put in place? No, apparently not.
‘As a precaution, people in Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston South Ribble and Wyre are advised to boil their water for all drinking, brushing teeth and food preparation purposes until further notice.’
You’ve got to be kidding.
This was on Thursday, and a quick phone call to Momma S made sure that she knew the deal – but don’t worry, no doubt the issue would be fixed by the time I was home the following evening.
Oh, how wrong can one be.
By Sunday, there were still pans full of boiled water, bottles filling up the fridge, and three Irish Setters turning their noses up at the idea of another bowl of pre-prepared H2O – if the dog can tell the difference, there’s something amiss.
There was also a disgruntled visitor heading Southbound, annoyed by the fact that she couldn’t have her morning Costa (if you can boil water, why can’t you make me a skinny chai latte?!), or use an ice machine in Nando’s (never used it before, but it’s the principle). And I only had to put up with the ‘inconvenience’, as United Utilities like to put it, for a couple of days.
I feel for everyone, particularly those with young children, who’ve been living with this for over a week.
At time of writing, the ‘boil water notice’ is still in place. Eight days after a warning was first issued.
And while admittedly I’m no expert on matters of contamination, one would have presumed that they would have come up with a solution by now. Does it take a week to flush the water out the system? There’s a lot of it, I get that, but puh-lease... surely someone has dropped the cryptosporidium-filled ball here.
Which it seems the water company are ready to admit, as reports of compensation start to gather pace.
Next trip home is planned for the end of September. Evian at the ready...