Saturday 21 March 2020

Dab it off

Today's Google Doodle celebrates Ignaz Semmelweis done to death by murderous guards for advocating hand-washing.
I got mortal frighty about hot air hand-driers because they concentrate the coliform aerosol endemic in public 'restrooms', heat 'em up to blood temperature and deliver the cocktial to your hands. For the last couple of years, therefore, I have brought a towelling 30x30cm 'face-cloth' to work as my personal hand-dryer. They retail at €1.60 [or less] for a pack of four - that's cheaper than 4 Kit-Kats and the towels are less addictive. I feel virtuous about this, although I suspect that Covid-19 will be rather too happy in the tufted, damp, mildly organic surface of the flannel.

I lived for 20 years with three female house-mates, until eventually the younger two reached voting age and moved on. It was astonishing, to a chap, how much toilet-paper was used (once, and thrown away). We were quick to respect the capacity of our standard septic-tank and tried to divert merely damp tissue away from the toilet bowl and to a burning bin for disposal by conflagration. We've never had a bin collection up the mountain and I can't remember what we did with diapers when the girls were young enough to need them. Disposable diapers are loaded with sodium polyacrylate and don't burn unless you soak them in petrol. The volume of dab-it-off TP was quite enough without diapers.

Although like Gladstone's Home Rule Bills being a bit too little too late, The Beloved has embraced reusable cotton 'wipes' to replace the couple of squares of paper used every tinkle. These have been cut to a convenient size from an old tea-towel which was too holey to be seen in the kitchen - imagine the shame if the neighbour came for tea and saw right through the tea-towels.
Q. Why too little too late?
A. Because we would have saved a true forest if we'd implemented these mini-towels when we had a full house.
Nevertheless: "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little"

I wrote that all a week ago and two days later the same idea surfaced on MeFi, as a bandanna.

All this reminds me of the old days when we used to ⟳ wash, sterilise, use, repeat ⟳ squares of velvet for doing replica plating of microbial colonies. These are now damnably expensive. But in the 1970s they were made for £nothing-at-all by Mrs E., the departmental bottle-washer. She put out the word across her network that she would take any off-cuts or cast-offs of velvet and cut them into 15 x 15cm squares for use when researchers and students were doing some replica plating.

I must say that it has been in my mind to go up the hill every so often and bring down a small bag of sustainably produced Sphagnum moss for bathroom cleaning: it is clean, green, mildly antiseptic and recyclable. If it's good enough for WWI hospitals as a dressing, it's good enough for my arse. You think we have reached bottom here? Not yet: tomorrow's round up will have a link to the foolish use of newspaper for this purpose.

No comments:

Post a Comment