When I was a lad, water was water.
I grant that you could find water in many different guises such as rivers, the sea, clouds, rain, out of a tap or in your whiskey, but remove the minerals or the chemicals and you were left with exactly the same stuff – water.
Water was one of the simplest chemical compounds known to physics – H2O – two parts Hydrogen to one part Oxygen. It was everywhere. It is probably the most common thing on the planet apart from rock and thick politicians. It was so ubiquitous that it was even used in determining temperature scales – anyone could graduate a thermometer because everyone had water.
Apparently here in Ireland we have discovered a new and different kind of water.
I don't know if the new water has somehow evolved from the old water in true Darwinian style, or whether it's just some weird freak of nature.
Whatever its origins it is causing problems. Dublin City Council doesn't know what to make of it so they are cutting off all supplies.
They are being rather cagey about this new water. They are giving little details so we don't know what colour or consistency it is or even if it's a liquid.
"It's mainly the change of the character of the water coming into the plant and it's proving very difficult to treat it," he said.
When they say a "change of character" do they mean it insists on flowing uphill instead of down or is it just bad tempered?
Mr Phillips told RTE Radio one possible cause being looked at was that Ireland enjoyed a "fine summer" and the nature of water flowing from rivers into reservoirs has been altered.
So maybe the answer lies in our "fine summer"? Maybe it wasn't a fine summer after all, and in fact it pissed rain every day but no one noticed because the new water is invisible and falls from invisible clouds? Maybe it's dehydrated water? All that time we were out lying in the garden or picnicking at the beach we were being soaked to the skin with dehydrated rain?
I'm getting nervous now. When I turn on my tap, will I get the right kind of water? How will I tell the difference? If I turn on the tap and nothing comes out does it mean they have cut my water off, or is the new type of water actually flowing out but I can't see it?
Whiskey on my cornflakes from now on.
You can't be too careful.