Water, water, not quite everywhere

horse trough

These days no one is more than six-feet away from a bottle of water; the summer signs at Tube stations actively encourage you to carry one. So how come none of us living in London in the 60s and 70s died of dehydration?

Growing up I’d play outside for hours, either trying to become the next Alan Knott or Gerd Müller; but I’d never have any form of liquid near me. I’d return to my Balham flat and be given orange squash diluted by tepid (at best) water from the tap, not some chilled bottle of Perrier or Evian.

I always judged people as being posh if I was ever invited anywhere for tea and offered lemon squash. We never had fruit juice either (how I never contracted scurvy I’ll never know!) and the Du Cane Fruiters opposite my Balham flat never sold anything from outside the UK (they were advocating leaving the EU before we even joined in 1973), so the only fruit intake I had was at half-time during school football matches.  Accessible water, unless you were having it flown in from the Perrier factory in the Gard departement in France, was restricted round my way to the school water fountain or the horse trough on Mitcham High Street.

These days water bottles proliferate and the substances inside manifold. But, if you’d have asked me in the mid-60s, after running around Wandsworth Common like a banshee, if I’d have liked an Elderberry Press, I’d have assumed it was the name of a local newspaper!

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