02 July 2007


Originally uploaded by April H..
Our garden is soaking wet; saturated; absolutely sodden. This is in part because it has rained every- day- for- the- last- three- and- a-half- weeks. But it's also because, on Saturday, I poured on to the lawn enough water to supply a small African village for a month: Reader, I emptied the paddling pool.

Now let's be clear: this is no ordinary paddling pool; although if you were to judge from the picture on the box you'd imagine it was one. Yes, if you were judging solely from the picture on the box, perhaps in a hurry, you can be sure that you would have no chance of comprehending any where near exactly how BIG it is. Especially if you were accompanied that day in Homebase by, say, an excited 10 year with the clear opinion that it certainly wasn't any larger than than the old paddling pool, the one we had last year, if anything slightly smaller, Dad, come on!

Neither, if you were judging from the picture on the box, would you gather that it had a filter, and pump.

Reader, our paddling pool is 3.2m diameter and over half a metre deep. That means it contains roughly um r=1.5m....π=3.14, tum-te-tum- te-tum...te .... well, about 4,000 litres of water. That's enough for an African family of five to live on for 6 months. Or an American family of three for an afternoon.

No one could accuse me of being green but even I had a slight twinge of worry when we ran out of hot water and had to switch on the immersion heater to keep up the temperature while we filled it.

That was three-and-half-weeks-ago when we filled it up, since then we've have had precisely 58 minutes of sunshine and the children have been in it precisely twice. One of those times voluntarily.

At lunchtime on Saturday I read the five day weather forecast. I hummed. I levered up a corner of the pool to inspect the rotten, glutinous 'grass' beneath. I haa'd. Slowly I came to a decision and I removed the cover, fetched my snorkel, and plunged my arm into the freezing cold water to undo the plug and attach the hose. Water gushed out in a most satisfactory way; and when I went to bed that evening it was still gushing. On Sunday morning it had stopped and I wrestled with the still-surprisingly-heavy-last-5cm and tipped the remaining slimy water out of the sorry-looking deflated pool and all over my shoes.

Thank goodness for global warming, that's what I say, otherwise I would have ended up cold AND wet.

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