(Recited by Derek Jacobi)
Best make a cup of tea for this one because it's not green and it's not pleasant:
I've always loved gardening, no particular reason that I can think of though if a psychologist delved into my mind he would probably find that it stems from the day, many years ago, when my father dug a half-moon patch in the lawn, gave me a couple of packets of Alyssum and Marigold seeds and said, "It's all yours." It occurs to me now that he's the only man ever to have said that to me.
Ever since the day I picked up his hand-trowel and borrowed his red plastic sieve to fine-tilth the soil in the borders and watch the rhubarb grow, it's been a bit of a love-thing for me. One of my earliest memories is walking, pygmy-like and in wonder, amongst towering rows of raspberry canes.
Anyway, given that I'll soon be moving to a place with a garden and given that the past owners weren't gardeners at all, I'll be in the happy position of being able to start growing my own fruit and veg again from scratch. It will be a case of lawn up, patio up, greenhouse in, raised beds in and square foot gardening in. This all led me to wonder about the practicalities of using greywater in gardens and, oh, Happy Day, Caroline Spelman, Privy Counsellor and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says that using greywater is the way forward.
I don't like Spelman. I think she's a mouthpiece for corporate business within government and that she's vacuous, incapable of independent thought and unceasingly condescending. With that in mind I thought I'd better think ahead and moot the real possibilities of using greywater in the garden.
The short answer is that there's no easy or cheap way to use greywater on a fruit & veg garden of any size. Yes, you can always bathe in eco-friendly products and, towel-clad, sloop your bath water into a bucket, lop it out of your open first floor bathroom window and pray it lands where it won't poison anything, but... really... that's a bit of a non-starter for most of us.
I turned instead to the RHS but received even less comfort from them:
To minimise bacterial growth, grey water should only be saved for 24 hours, unless filtered through a reedbed or professionally-designed system. It is best applied by watering can; grease and fibres can clog irrigation systems.Okay, so what's a reedbed apart from something that bends and whistles in the wind and sends a warning to Westminster that the people have had enough? Not very much unless you have acres of ground is the answer.
There should be no problem with small-scale, short-term use of grey water to tide plants over in summer drought. An exception is on edible crops, due to the risk of contamination from pathogens in the water.
Oh dear, let's try other forms of filtering instead. Surely sand filter is possible in an urban garden:
Or perhaps not - this is Step One:
And this is Step Two:
Back to Spelman and the government's own recommendations. Here's a .pdf from the Environment Agency - a so-called quango: Greywater for domestic users: an information guide They recommend THIS. It's one of the first things I came across when I began my search and discounted as totally impractical and useless for my needs.
So, if stand pipes are all we have next year after another 'dry winter', then I and thousands like me in England, will be left with wilting food, mounting water bills, metering and and a pain in the neck.
That pain in the neck is called governance.
Never let it be said that I let a post go by without a dig at the EU. If you haven't already seen THIS, please read it now and view with scepticism the polls and msm articles that say the EU isn't one of the issues the British people feel strongly about.
There'll be no more Jerusalem, no more green and pleasant land, no more England. My veg and fruit patch aside, can't you see that we're already ruled by self-designated 'foreign princes and prelates' with the co-operation and encouragement of our own 'elected' government?