Honesty, and the Law

February 13, 2008

Adherence to the law is an odd thing here.

Sometimes the law is followed, sometimes the law is ignored. When it’s being ignored though it’s often not because people have bad intentions, more that the law doesn’t entirely make sense at the time and, since no one is going to be inconvenienced, why not just turn a blind eye and make life easier all round?

For example, cars drive on the left as in the UK. Also as in the UK when traffic is stopped at a red light it is not legal to make a left turn if the road is clear. Despite the road being clear the law says you must wait until the lights change. Well, that’s what the law says but folks here are pragmatic. If there’s no traffic coming then what harm would it do? Surely, it even helps other drivers because if you sneak round the corner while the lights are at red then that’s one less car in the mix when the lights do change.

So, a pragmatic view of the law then.

Yesterday a friend was recounting a tale of paying her annual council/municipality rates.

These are meant to cover all local services such as getting the rubbish taken away to providing street lighting. We paid about 100€ (£74, $145) for the entire of 2007 – as opposed to £1,750 (2,350€, $3,425) a year we paid in London in 2006! When you consider that the UK is moving to rubbish (garbage) collections once every two weeks and we have three collections a week those numbers make even less sense!

Anyway, while she was paying her (absurdly small) rates bill she asked about the hosepipe ban.

For as long as we’ve been here there has been a ban on the use of hosepipes as part of the general programme to get people to conserve water. Local housewives hate the ban as any woman who doesn’t hose down her patios at least once a week is considered rather slovenly.

Our friend had seen so many Cypriot women hosing down their patios, in spite of the ban, that she wondered if she had misunderstood. So she asked for clarification.

“Was it ok to use a hosepipe to wash her patios and perhaps her car?”

The answer, from a council official, was not really what she expected to hear.

“Well, if there’s no one around then yes, you can use a hosepipe. But, if anyone is watching then you must use a bucket instead!”


One comment

  1. […] Long time readers may remember the case of the government official and his answer regarding the use of hosepipes during the water shortages. A while ago we were reminded of that during, oddly, a discussion about […]

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