January 6, 2011 at 12:57 am 7 comments

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

This is my challenge post from my friend @Ivan_Jelical on Twitter. He had been chatting with friends about the recent water problems we had in Northern Ireland. We made the main UK headlines and for once it wasn’t about a horrific and violent act. In one respect that was a relief as I have spent most of my life seeing Northern Ireland make the headlines for all the worst reasons. Don’t get me wrong, making the headlines because many thousands of homes were without water for days wasn’t good but it is a change to get headlines for the ‘normal’ failings.

I will add some salient points regarding the water issues in Northern Ireland. These are taken from the BBC website so that you can have a summary of ‘highlights’:-

  • Unprecedented number of burst pipes reported as temperatures thaw over Christmas period
  • NI Water instigates ‘category one incident management regime’ as calls reporting problems rise by 21,000 from 26 December to 27 December
  • 40,000 properties in NI without running water by 29 December
  • About 80 NI towns and villages affected
  • Points set up across NI for water distribution and collection
  • On 29 December, Scottish government says it will send 160,000 litres of water to NI
  • NI Water contacts UK mutual aid scheme for support on 31 December

A friend of mine lives just outside one of our beautiful villages. She and her husband were without water from Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve. It was extremely unpleasant for them. They had friends bringing them bottled water from 40 miles away as you couldn’t get water anywhere close. When you have no water you are left very vunerable. You can’t wash properly, you can’t cook, you often don’t have heat. You feel grubby and not in control.

We take so much for granted in our lives. We expect the weather to behave and let us lead our busy lives. We expect that the flick of a switch will allow us to make tea, be entertained, keep our homes and ourselves pristine and lovely. It is very unpleasant when that capability is taken away.

However, all of us knew that this would be a temporary situation. Full water supplies have now been restored in Northern Ireland and, apart from the aftermath of who did what and when, what changes we need in the infrastructure to minimise the chances of this happening again, our lives will go on as before. There are those who will have more serious impacts with burst pipes and perhaps not the insurance to deal with all of this and for them I am truly sorry. It will be a struggle to pick up the pieces and get their lives back to their normal.


Have you ever imagined if the situation I describe above was your norm? I know I take my surroundings and the ease with which I can turn a tap on very much for granted. How would I cope if I didn’t have constant running water, electricity to power all those gadgets I can’t live without? It would be hard.

The generally accepted statistics are that you will survive between 3 and 5 days without water. However, dehydration takes hold very quickly and will impact your ability to think coherently when you can least afford it. When in situations where you need all your capabilities to survive dehydration will become a killer. There are some who estimate that one third of African people will have to cope with water scarcity – where there are imbalances between availability and demand,  poor quality ground and surface water; these all contribute to water scarcity. It can also be impacted by conflict where supplies are deliberately contaiminated. This is not just true for Africa but it is a good illustration for this post.

Consider children having to live with poor water. It is hard to thrive when your water supply is poor or diseased. In some developing countries, 80% of illnesses and death can be linked to poor water and sanitation. Water supplies are limited and involve walking for miles to collect what you need for your family for the day. I am sure you have all seen the same adverts as me where small children will walk for miles to help collect the daily supply – because that is the price of survival. The water they collect will help keep their family going for this one day, regardless of the disease that the water may harbour. What helps you live may also give you pain and suffering but you know you have to get it this day and every day because you have no other choice.

So, my conclusion? When you are used to water on tap and you have to go without you will be frustrated and angry, you will find it deeply unpleasant. It isn’t nice to be taken out of your comfort zone and none of us like it. But please, consider what many have to do simply to get enough water to get by for just this one day…..

Please don’t take this for granted

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.


Entry filed under: Blogging, Childhood, Children, Donating, Life, Northern Ireland, Twitter, wheniwas8. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Post Christmas Blues? Bah Humbug……. Living in a Vacuum?

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Scotsron  |  March 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    A very important topic Lesley, one that the western world seems to neglect badly. The statistics are frightening, e.g. 884 million people don’t have access to safe water, and yet it gets very little media coverage.
    If the human race, the UN or whoever, should do one thing it’s ensure all the world has an adequate water supply, but no ! Very depressing.
    Have given a one-off donation of £20 to WaterAid and may give more soon.
    On a lighter note : Aged 8 – an astronaut, a footballer and even an architect (ah wus a superstar wi’ the lego 😉 ) x

    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  March 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Ron,

      Thank you, both for donating to such an important cause and for coming here to tell me about it. You know the topic and we all know what needs to be done. It is indeed very depressing that all those Governments can’t get their heads together to provide water for all the people of this planet, shame I say….

      And then there are your ambitions! Astronaut and footballer are admirable for an 8 year old but I am truly tickled by your childhood lego expertise making architecture one of your goals;) Love it, love it, love it, still smilling.

      Much love to you and lovely Linda,

      Lesley xxxx

  • 3. ivanjelical  |  January 12, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Great post Lesley, you really picked up the ball and ran with it, a thought provoking post, thank you.

    • 4. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Neill,

      Thanks, both for the theme and the feedback. You know I try to take the themes to a slightly different place and I am glad you gave me this one. It made me think:)

      Take care,

      Lesley xx

  • 5. LonniCuriosity  |  January 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Well said, Lesley. This is something most of us don’t give a thought to, until if affects us personally! I lived in Charleston, South Carolina when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989. We were without water, telephones, and electricity for nearly 2 weeks. We drove off-roads and around dangerous fallen trees and debris in our attempts to get to neighboring areas, hoping to obtain water and also ice to try and keep the precious food supply in our refrigerators from spoiling. Most grocery stores were damaged and not open.

    I think that experience has caused me to look at these things differently ever since then, wondering how people do it who don’t have these things. It’s good to be reminded again about what I have to be thankful for. =)

    • 6. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  January 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Oh Lonni,

      Thank you so much for this comment. You have lived it so you know. It may have been only for a little while but deprivation can impact suddenly and deeply. I am glad it was only 2 weeks where you had to cope. I am so glad you understood where I was coming from with the post.

      Much love hun.

      Lesley xx

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hairscareclairebear and Lesley Miller. Lesley Miller said: Right, that's it. A bit of #ashes and sleeps. Goodnight lovelies, please retweet this one as I am quite proud of it:) http://wp.me/pSrdG-jf […]


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