From bailout to baleouts — it’s leak and potato soup

Grab hold of your stopcock. Make sure your ballcock is floating. Now relax there in the dark of the attic.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it has. Just when we thought that with the Christmas confession and all that we had purged ourselves of the sins and excesses of the Celtic Tiger, the weather gods decide to play one more cruel trick on us and say “grand, we’ll take away the ice and the snow, but we’ll give ye water instead and this time it’ll come through the ceiling, through the floors, out of the walls.

For thousands of householders over the city and county, short on cash, pushed to the pin of their collar by the Christmas and facing more cuts in the coming weeks, burst pipes, damaged ceilings, floors just heap more misery on an already miserable situation.

The ordinary man and woman in the street, who in the past few months have had to familiarise themselves with terms such as senior bondholders, bailout, IMF and quantitative easing are now having to learn how to turn their stopcock anticlockwise and make sure that their ballcocks are not hanging out of the water. As you do.

Households in the city and county face water shortages and restrictions for the guts of the next week, so we have to get used to it and hope that 2011 won’t be as miserable as 2010 has been. And you can be bloody sure that no sooner will we be out of this mess, but the snow and the ice will return.

For the businesses, it is a nightmare too. Last January, shops and businesses were denied the boost of the post-Christmas sales by the snow and the ice and they are set to get a similar blow at the start of 2011 as available cash is spent on plumbers and repairs.

However, it’s good news fro the plumbers. My plumber told me last week that he must have been the only man in Ireland who didn’t want the thaw to come over the Christmas, ‘cos he knew what the thaw brings. Not relief from the ice and snow, but cracked and burst pipes and an incessant phone ringing.

So the next few days are going to be trying for us all. Instead of New Year cheer, we are facing the likes of fun you would have on a weekend on Lough Derg. But sure, a bit more purging won’t do us any harm, the state of us. Conserve water where you can and don’t be irresponsible with the supply. Look in on the elderly and the vulnerable and make sure that they have adequate supplies and heat.

On behalf of everyone here at the Advertiser (where yes, the ceiling have come in with the burst pipes as well ), have a Happy and Prosperous New Year. See ya next year for more fun and games.


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