THERE has been a man with a drill outside Cobweb Castle this week who has put the willies up Mrs Nurden. She peered through the bedroom nets and then grabbed me by the wardrobe. “They are here,” she announced. I looked out, expecting to see little green men marching up the garden path but then realised why she was in such a state.
Life will never be the same again. Southern Water has sent a man to install a water meter. Now, depending on who you ask, our bills will either soar or plummet. Knowing our luck, they will soar. Our latest bill – unmetered of course – arrived as if by magic this morning. It is for £479 and will take us up to March 2013 although Southern Water would like us to pay for it now, or at least by instalments.
This is an interesting business concept which I hope does not catch on. Imagine going into a restaurant and having to pay for the starter before you have it, then for the main course and finally for the pudding? Our water bill has something called a standing charge. I am not sure what that is for but I’m not standing for it. We are also paying £22 for surface water drainage and £10 for highway drainage. That’s just highway robbery. Talk about throwing money down the drain.
Last year’s bill was £440 which means I have been stuck with nearly a 10 per cent rise. I didn’t think inflation had reached that figure yet. Meanwhile, it looks unlikely I will get to use all my allocated water because of the drought restrictions. According to Southern Water, having a meter will be a fairer system because we will only pay for the water we use. But fairer to whom? Fairer does not necessarily mean cheaper. Have you seen how much water Mrs Nurden uses in the shower? And I have no idea why the Creature of the Night feels compelled to clean his car every week. Once a year seems to suffice with mine.
However, Mrs Nurden’s big fear is that the Water Police will cut off supplies to her hot tub. Which explains why she was out in the garden like a demented wild thing changing the water just in case the supply was axed. The entire family had to form a human chain of buckets as we emptied gallons of old water down the drain so we could fill it all up again. Mrs Nurden then went into boffin mode as she juggled chemicals around. Armed with litmus sticks she manipulated the pH of the water by adding chlorine and some other compounds, set the temperature and then attacked pipes with a spanner to expel airlocks. In the distance we could still hear the digger man’s throbbing drill as he reached the stop cock.
However it ends I know one thing is certain – we are all bound to end up in hot water…