There were so many things that caught my eye or ear when we were in Germany. Things that looked and sounded ‘normal’ to any German – unless it was a German who had just come back to live in his ‘Heimat’: you’ll remember the man from the ‘Genossenschaft’ who called to the house in – what would have been considered in Ireland to have been – the middle of the night to remind us to open the windows really wide – not just ‘Kippe’ – every day for as many minutes as the current temperature; 10o C = 10 minutes ‘Lüften’. You’ll also remember that he got stuck when I asked him what to do at -10oC.

Now, the world is not just strange in Germany.

Just two days ago, the Irish Independent reported in an exclusive news flash that restaurants will charge €1 for tap water because of the water charge that the  Government has introduced recently. The commercial rates are, apparently, so sky high that owner cannot possibly be expected any longer to cover the exorbitant price of tap water their clients are drinking. It would just not be fair, they argued, and not sustainable long-term.

Ireland should follow Europe - it always does!

Europeans are clearly undercharging for tap water! – Ireland should lead the way for a realistic charge on tap water in restaurants!

I think they are right. Wouldn’t you agree? And it’s worse: first they drink this expensive water (and, because it’s free, they might even have a second glass!), charged at commercial rates by the Council to the poor restaurant owner and then, they most likely go to the toilet creating even more and higher expenses not just because of increased waste water charges, but also because they might, ignorant as they are of the immense cost implications, literally flush huge amounts of money down the toilet!

So, I don’t think restaurant owners are going far enough. In addition to charging for a glass of tap water, they will also have to charge their clients for going to the toilet (unless, maybe, guests agree not to flush), for using plates and cutlery (they already do that in loads of restaurants in Italy anyway), and for getting their table cleaned with a wet cloth.

I know what I am talking about, because I checked: Dublin City Council charges a commercial rate of €1.16 for a cubic metre of water – pure extorsion! I mean, the restaurant owners could not possibly be expected to pay that out of their own pocket. After all, one cubic metre is just a mere 1,000 litres!

A lot of things have changed since Pádraig’s accident, in addition to the water charge.

Each time I hear about a tragedy, I can hardly bear it. Whatever terrible things happen to people, are no longer just ‘news’ that go in one ear and out the other. They all hit my heart. Each time. And there are small things that happen that I find almost unbearable. Like this morning. It was raining and windy when I went to a glass bank, slipped on a piece a really wet wood, and fell. I hurt my backside, my trousers got wet and dirty, and I bruised my hands. But what hurt me beyond my ‘pain threshold’ was not the hurt I felt, but the incredible and unimaginable pain Pádraig must have felt when that car hit him. I know I will, but I haven’t got over that feeling yet. It’s like a huge open wound.

Pádraig was good today. He had an hour’s session in the Erigo (a stand up table with simulated leg movement) and speech therapy later in the day. He continues to use the switch in a very reliable way. Later in the week, he has an appointment in the NRH’s EAT clinic – which has nothing got to do with food or eating, but with ‘electronic assistive technology’. There is so much technology, combined with daily and intensive cognitive and physical training, could do for him!

Family meeting tomorrow with NRH staff where we might hear more about next steps…

PS: Created a basic Facebook page for An Saol and the volunteer meeting on 14 December. Please ‘like’ An Saol! – Got 12 ‘likes’ already since this morning! – And let me know whether you are interested (and have the time) to volunteer in whatever way and from whatever place for An Saol.