gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

About Drought

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Some of you will remember that in the 80s, we had a bad drought in Johannesburg. And, of course, we now have a drought again. And it is bringing back such memories.

Because my mom thrived on the drought. She “loved” water restrictions and implemented them with the most thorough attention to detail. In my memory, I bathed every second night in about two inches of water and I seem to think that she used the same water after me. The water then stayed in the bath and was bucket lifted to fill the toilet. The toilet, of course, was only flushed for number twos and had a brick in the cistern. The washing machine outlet pipe went into the garden. She watered the garden strictly at allowed times (although was determined to keep a lovely garden throughout!) She cried with happiness when the rains came again, but I think she slightly missed the drought. . .

Yesterday, I decided that it was time to start taking things a bit more seriously in my house. Turning the tap off while brushing my teeth was no longer enough, and because I am my mother’s daughter, my kids have ALWAYS shared bath water. So yesterday, I ferried that same shared bath water to the garden in buckets. And then I sadly turned my back on my beloved bath, and had a shower. We are very lucky people, and have an outside shower as well as an inside one. So I stood under the African sky, looking at the thorns of the Acacia tree and the weaver-bird nests, and showered away the heat of the day (in under 5 minutes, of course). And I thought about how good I felt about those buckets of water I had carried to the garden. And I realised that, like my mom before me, I will thrive, despite the drought.


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