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Why I can’t bottle up my frustrations
Recently I did something that I really resented doing. I bought several bottles of water.
Worse still, it was fizzy water – something I truly believe goes against nature in a disturbing way.
A German student was staying at our home as part of an exchange. She was lovely, but, in common with another German girl who stayed a couple of years ago, she did not drink tap water. She didn't just dislike it – it was abhorrent to her.
When my daughter went to stay in Germany and attempted to drink from the tap, the entire family leapt up in horror and told her the water was “dirty”.
I find it puzzling that in the developed world many people still don’t drink water from a tap. I haven’t travelled extensively, but in the European countries I have visited, including France, Spain and Italy, bottled water is the preferred drink.
I remember visiting Paris aged 20 and being told not to drink from the taps in the hotel room. We were forced to go out and spend our precious holiday money on bottled water.
How is it that Continental tap water is so unpalatable? Maybe it’s perfectly drinkable, but people don’t trust it.
When I was young, there was no such thing as bottled water. Or if there was, I hadn’t heard of it. I came across it in the 1980s, when Perrier became all the rage. I remember even then, wondering why people were buying water from a spring in France when it was free from a tap.
I hated the taste – I don’t think water should have a taste – but restaurants and cafes served nothing else. Either you pay for it, or get none, was the way most places dealt with requests for a glass of water.
This still happens in some places, although legally if alcohol is served, then free water must be provided. More than once I’ve walked out of a restaurant which won’t provide tap water.
But I still feel slightly embarrassed asking for it, especially when faced with a bank of Evian or Harrogate Spa on the counter. I feel as if they think I’m a cheapskate, trying to save cash. Yet in the supermarket, I felt ashamed to be wheeling around bottled water in my trolley.
I don’t think we appreciate what a wonderful resource we have got. I was repulsed when I first came across flavoured water, and I opened the paper this morning to an advert for ‘tasty’ vitamin water. Is this meant to be healthy? One of the ingredients listed was caffeine!
Our German visitor left the bottled water, preferring Coke and Sprite. I’d feed it to the plants in my garden, but I don’t want to kill them off.