Okay, first off, I have finally completed Tales From Loch Doon, every author who wanted cash has been paid and books are (slowly) making their way to those who wanted books. Amazon are prioritising ‘essentials’ and print books aren’t essential. They might take a week or so to arrive.
I went with the lighter cover image, did some meddling to sharpen it and (hopefully, I haven’t seen a print copy yet) make it more dramatic. There some little things in there to find, naturally 😉
Okay. I can now get back to Panoptica and the other books waiting in line. I can also stop banging on about Loch Doon. It’s complete.
So what’s the scariest thing I’ve written? What I hear most about is things like ‘The Hand that Feeds’ (goblins in a dishwasher), ‘Telephone Pest’ (demonic spirits spread through silent phone calls) and the preamble stories for Panoptica.
Nobody is scared of stories about wild-eyed demons or ghosts or zombies or vampires. Those are entertainment. It’s when you take the ordinary and everyday stuff and turn it on its head – that’s when people start checking under the bed and behind the sofa, and sleep with the lights on. The ordinary is the place where the easy terrors lurk.
So it is with the Flu Manchu. We now hear that it might be in the water supply. Apparently Boris says so, so all the already-terrified drones will believe it.
Well… no. It is not in the water supply. I am certain. Absolutely definitely certain. If it is anywhere it’s in the bottled water the drones will buy to avoid drinking from the tap, but really it’s not in there either.
That won’t stop me scaring them shitless about it, of course. I haven’t been able to leave the house for nearly a month now and I miss that direct interaction with people, and watching the colour drain from their faces.
The only way it would get into water is through faecal contamination. If your water comes from a reservoir, it had bird shit, fish shit, insect shit and all the fox and badger and everything else shit washed off the surrounding banks going into it. There’ll also be quite a few dead things in there, rotting away nicely and making your drinking water into dead-thing-and-poo soup.That’s why you don’t just dip a cup into a reservoir.
When it comes out of the tap, all the nasties are gone. The processing plant has cleaned them all out. We know this because drinking water is tested. One of those tests is for faecal contamination and that involves looking for Escherichia coli. Why that one? It’s only found in guts so if it’s in the water, there’s shit in the water. If it’s absent then we can be reasonably sure there’s no shit in the water. There are other tests too, quite a few, but if the processing is working correctly the water will pass them all.
So what makes this virus so special that it can withstand processing? Nothing. Nothing at all. It can’t. It’s not the Johnny Bravo of the microbial world. It will not get past the processing plant even if it gets into the water in the first place.
If it did, then so can everything else and you’d already be shitting water through every orifice from all the nasties you’d pick up.
Bottled water is also processed and tested. It’s not bottled by an unwashed hippy dipping bottles into a stream, you know. Any kind of foodstuff/drink on sale has been tested for safety unless you’re into eating raw bats you got from a dodgy blood-soaked madman. No safety tests, no sale. The suppliers want to see and keep documentation of the tests, otherwise they’d be liable too.
A long time ago, I was actually involved in food and drink testing. It’s not something you can be casual about. Wrongly reporting something as safe means an outbreak of food poisoning and it’s your fault. Wrongly reporting something as contaminated means a massively expensive recall operation – and that’s also your fault. Believe me, the labs doing these tests are careful.
Town water is chlorinated to make absolutely sure it’s safe to drink. Out here, it isn’t chlorinated – but it goes through two filters and a sealed UV blaster so it’s safe to drink right from the tap. Without chlorine. That’s because the water treatment plant is in the utility room so the treated water doesn’t have to travel far. If it was my personal well I’d be allowed to risk it, but since the landlord is supplying tenants, he can’t. The filters and UV are changed every year and the water gets tested.
The virus is not in the water supply. If you are still scared, boil the water first. The virus will not survive that. It cannot live inside your kettle either.
I don’t blame Boris for this scare story. He has no background in science, much less in microbiology or water treatment and supply. Someone has fed him this scaremongering bollocks and he probably thinks he’s doing us a favour by passing it on.
All it is doing is adding to the fear. Don’t fall for it.