‘What water tank?’ – Conversations with Mam

Water Tank
Not our Water Tank

My mam calls me on Skype. I’m on video. She’s not. I’m in Korea. She’s in Ireland. It’s the end of the call.

Mam: ‘I have to go. I have to run the bath every few hours to drain the water because there’s something wrong with the ball cock in the water tank.’

Me: ‘What water tank?’

‘The water tank in the attic.’

‘What water tank in the attic?’

‘The big steel thing that’s full of water.’

‘What big steel thing?’

‘It’s in the attic!!! Where did you think the water in the house came from?!’

‘The…world…I thought when you turn on the taps the world gives us water.’

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.
Where I think water comes from

‘The…world? No, it comes from the mains into the tank and then into the bathroom. Downstairs it comes from the mains into the taps.’

She pauses while I look confused and skeptic on video call.

Me: ‘What about the downstairs bathroom?’

‘That’s from the mains. Just upstairs is from the tank.’

Pause, while I contemplate this.

‘Why just upstairs?’

‘Something to do with pressure.’

‘What about the electric shower?’

‘Oh for God’s sake! That’s from the mains. That’s why you’re not supposed to drink the water from upstairs. Only downstairs. Because upstairs water has been sitting in a tank and you’re not supposed to drink it.’


Me: ‘I thought that was just a myth. I thought you just told us that to stop us drinking the water when we brushed our teeth.’

I couldn’t see her, but I pretty sure my mam shook her head in disbelief that we share the same DNA.

When we moved onto me asking how the electric shower was connected to the electricity in the house, Skype cut off our call. I think even it was getting bored with my questions.

For more Conversations:

And for more funny quotable quotes:

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