When I was kid I lived in a farmhouse that had no connection to a water scheme. We had a huge tank sitting on a base just outside the kitchen, which collected run-off from the galvanised corrugated iron roof. And we had a pump down on the Canning riverbank, which my father used to pump up river water to another tank. The river water was used – untreated – for everything except drinking and cooking. Yes, we bathed in riverwater, and drank untreated roof water, which probably explains why I have a cast iron immune system.
Anyway, I can remember many times climbing the old Cape-lilac tree and then carefully edging my way around the outside edge of the covered tank (remember, this was at roof height) so that I could get on to the roof, all while I was under eight years old. My older sister taught me how. Why we didn’t fall and break our necks I have no idea. In fact, growing up on a farm was just one adventure after another. My mother found me playing with a poisonous snake when I was less than a year old. A rat crawled in the tank overflow pipe one year, and we drank the water for ages before we found out what that funny smell was, and had to empty and scrub out the tank. And cart water until the summer was over and the dry broke.
Yet somehow nothing much seemed to go wrong with us kids … a cut foot, a splinter here, a grazed knee there – a dab of some hectic-coloured liquid, or a bit of Bates’ salve warmed over a candle and applied at night, and we were off again.
And over at an elementary school south of Boston, as reported in today’s news, a school is forbidding kids from playing catch or touch football and similar games for fear someone might sue them if a kid gets hurt.
Isn’t it time law-makers put an end to this kind of idiocy?
[Yep, they were the good old days. After all, I wasn’t the one who had to go pump the water up.]