Posted: 09/08/2015 at 08:15
I grew up on a farm so were used to all our water being metered. When I was very young times were exceptionally hard for our family and only adults were allowed to flush the loo, our baths were shallow, only happened once a week and we got in one after the other, finishing with Pa 'cos he was dirtiest. Otherwise it was strip-washing, unless Pa had been doing something that made him very dirty indeed. The garden wasn't watered - but there we were on the water-retentive clay-based soil of High Suffolk.
Here I garden on shallow free-draining sandy loam over chalk, and have two large ash trees which take a huge amount of moisture from the soil. We keep improving the soil with home-made compost and bought in manure, but if we didn't water the veg plot we'd have no veg.
We have two rainwater butts and use this water while it's available, but we do live in one of the driest parts of the country and sometimes they are empty. I'd love to have installed bigger and better rain water and grey-water saving schemes, but I don't have the funds.
As for the flowers, this year for the first time I've installed a trickle-hoze on the Shady Bank and the improvement in the plants has been noticeable - but I only use it once or twice a week for an hour or two at the most, and then only in the very dry spells - probably only half a dozen times in all this summer so far, and as I've said, I use a kitchen timer to make sure I don't forget to turn it off. Other than that we only water newly planted plants or plants that are visibly struggling due to lack of water. We never water the lawn.
I'm on a small pension, and I know it adds to our water bill, but gardening is my hobby - other people have foreign holidays, new cars, go on outings, shopping, to the theatre and eat out etc much more than we do.
I can't imagine the horror of having to give my children water that could make them ill - when it's time for me to be put on the compost heap, any that care to remember me can do so by giving to Water Aid.