‘You Can Lead a Horse to Water …’ and other such expressions

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’ Have you ever wondered who comes up with such expressions or idioms? I often do.

Keeping matters pet friendly (aha aha) and water related (because that’s what we’re about – us here at AquAid, dont’chya know) you’ll find quite a few animal / watery idioms around. My task was to establish whether they are all true or where they originated from.

The horse/water idiom might possibly encapsulate the English-speaking people’s mind-set better than any other saying, as it appears to be the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today. It was recorded as early as 1175 in Old English Homilies:

Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken
[who can give water to the horse that will not drink of its own accord?]

What’s even more interesting is that this particular proverb or idiom also applies to dogs. Dogs, you ask? Yes, dogs, I reply. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that dogs don’t sweat. They can pant or drink water to cool themselves down but they can’t do both at the same time and even if they’re too hot and you offer them water, they often won’t drink it – ergo you can also lead dogs to water but you can’t make them drink. I haven’t tried this out with cats, but then, they’re cats. Rather don’t go there.

I’m aware that this expression has another meaning, actually pointing at human behaviour, but I quite enjoy the literal sense too.

A fish out of water – Not feeling at home where you are. Okay, that one’s easy.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath waterWhen you’re making a change, save what matters to you and dispose of the rest. Pretty self-explanatory, but were you aware that there’s a bit of bun fight about the literal meaning of this idiom? Apparently, there’s an e-mail doing the rounds about proverbs in the 1500’s and this one meant that as an entire household bathed in the same water, the water would get so murky that it was entirely possible the baby went out with the bathwater. Not true of course.

To drown in a glass of waterTo be easily discouraged. I honestly hadn’t heard of this one before. I will suggest though that you don’t take this literally when refilling your glass at the water cooler. Your co-workers may get the wrong idea and label you a bit of a twit.

Blood is thicker than waterFamily is more important than anyone or anything else. This idiom has always creeped me out slightly. Still not sure why. Perhaps it comes from watching too many vampire movies?

To pound water in a mortarMaking vain attempts. This I can identify with, except mine involved making a well in flour and pouring water in to make pizza bases. The dam broke, the water flowed out and I was left cleaning up sticky, yeasty, wet flour from every available kitchen surface. Thank you, recipe from Jamie Oliver, not.






Slumping at the Water Cooler

I’ve hit a bit of creative burnout, people. Happens to the best of us. It may have something to do with that inevitable, eventual information overload, or the hailstorm I slid through yesterday, or the fact that I’ve not been getting my full 6 hours sleep a night. Who knows? So here I slump. Hence the title, ‘slumping at the water cooler’. It goes without saying that the HOD and her gang are casting dark looks at me, but I’ve sort of perfected the ‘speak to the hand’ ignore – when I’m not slumping or draping myself over the bottle fed, I upend myself (a little like the water bottle does) and hang upside down, trapeze like. If anyone approaches with a battle light in their eyes, I just lift my top lip, showing my fangs, uhh, canines, ever so slightly. Works like a charm I tell you.

So, the idea today is all about free association, which as you may have twigged by now, is rather a speciality of mine. Before you chip in, no, you can’t play – this is a game I play all on my ownsome. Off we go:

Penguins – Opus & Bill – fabulous, fabulous cartoon from Berkeley Breathed circa the ‘80’s. I passed my passion for Opus onto a dear friend of mine who named his cat after him.

Cat on a hot tin roof – Fiddler on the Roof – To Kill a Mockingbird: A life changing novel by Harper Lee. Cannot even begin to explain the connection there.

Wacky Wicks – Beechies – Strawberry Beechies and that bubble-gum smell. Still a favourite.

Nosferatu – Dracul – Dracula – Nazgul (the winged creatures from The Lord of the Rings). Okay, that one, perhaps, is not so difficult to figure out.

So, there you have it, dear people, plenty of brain fodder for you to go and eddicate yourselves with. Pleasure.

Psst. The photo of the penguin baba was initially chose for no reason at all – just because it’s a really good photo and also because it’s of a cute, fluffy, baby penguin. This of course started the Penguin – Opus etc. association. Powerful stuff, eh?

Water Coolers and Dams

I was galloping around the internet (translation: pulling up pages every 5.8 seconds as opposed to my regular speed of 20.3 seconds) when I came across a site about dams. Dams, you ask? As in the females in the animal world?

No, not those dams, dam dams (ahahaha) you know, large, usually man made reservoirs of water that usually keep cities and towns in water.

This water wonder (pictured above) is the:

 Contra Dam

Location: Ticino, Switzerland

Height: 220m

Length: 380m

Impounds (water source): Verzasca River

The surface area of the dam is 44,500 m2

This magnificent venue was used in the 1995 James Bond film, Golden Eye, where 007 jumps from the top. Do you remember that? I certainly do. My dad was an avid movie goer and 007 topped the list of must go sees.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to the main event.

Dams are pretty incredible if one thinks about it and pretty daunting from another perspective – all that water held back by tons of concrete and some pretty nifty engineering. Don’t judge, but it’s always been a bit of a bother to me that concrete is so porous and you mix it with water and then…. it becomes solid. When it meets water again, why doesn’t it crumble or return to its sludgy state? Never been able to figure that one out.

The water from AquAid doesn’t come from this dam though. It would be nice to think that it did (all that glacier run-off) but it doesn’t. Have to keep the carbon footprint in mind ye know.

That said, our water’s nothing to sneeze about – all sourced from three different locations around the UK.

Our water coolers (if you’re using our bottle fed that is) are then kept supplied with said delicious drinking water to keep you and team well watered and bright eyed and bushy tailed.

(I won’t be standing at the base of any dam though, that whole concrete thing still freaks me out).


You Can Lead A Horse To Water … And Other Water Proverbs

Waxing philosophical (waxing possibly originating from the German word wachsen (to grow)) about water, I first thought of this one *pointing upwards*. The full proverb reads like this:

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.


People, like horses, will only do what they have a mind to do.


This proverb might be thought to encapsulate the English-speaking people’s mind set better than any other saying, as it appears to be the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today. It was recorded as early as 1175 in Old English Homilies:

‘Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken’

Sticking with the water theme, here are some more corkers:


A fish out of water
Not feeling at home where you are.

Blood is thicker than water
Family is more important than anyone or anything else.

Don’t make waves
Don’t make trouble; do what others are doing.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
When you’re making a change, save what matters to you and dispose of the rest.

You bring water to the sea
You take advantage of something.

It would seem that water is an integral part of life, even to do with philosophy. As you can see from the image headlining today’s blog, we even have our resident horse, Hoss, moonlighting as a zebra and lurking around the water cooler in the AquAid Africa office. Rather fitting, or, as they say in the classics, ‘if the hoof (harf harf) fits, wear it’, keeping in mind the whole zebra + Africa + … connection. Geddit? Geddit?

As you may imagine, I have used a lot of poetic license here, because truly, although we like to think of ourselves as being rather creative in this division of AquAid, we don’t really have a horse doubling as a zebra in our office lurking around the water cooler.

Disappointed? Never mind, so am I!

What we do have though, are water coolers:

Ask away, we’ve oodles of water cooler knowledge and experience and are happy to help. Click here. Neiggghhhhhh!


Water Fountains – Part II – for Schools and the Like

I still giggle when I think about drinking water fountains. Heavens only know why. We used to have one in the dojo I did karate at (jaha – more to this blogista than just a keyboard I tell ya). I just thought the water fountain was awfully clever.  Our school certainly didn’t have them. No siree Bob, our school had school toilets – ugh – and school basins – double ugh – and Lifebuoy soap – *shudder*.

Then, schools changed and we got lucky. How so, you ask? This so, I say:

AquAid’s stylish drinking water fountains make a great addition to any school, gym or area where a high volume of water is required.  Research has shown that children do not drink enough water during the school day which is why AquAid are one of the UK’s leading providers of water coolers and drinking fountains to schools. These machines offer you the added benefit of being durable as well as only using a small footprint.

Water Fountain – features:
  • Rugged Steel construction
  • Stainless steel sink top
  • Both Swan neck and bubble options
  • Extremely durable with proven reliability
  • Drainage and mains water required
  • Coil on Coil refrigerated cooling system resulting in reduced running costs
  • Environmentally friendly
Why the emphasis on Water Coolers & Drinking Fountains for Schools?

Dehydration is serious for all of us, but no more so than to our children. At the time a child starts to feel thirsty, they will have already lost more than 20% of their ability to perform both physically and mentally. The direct result of this is not only a worsened academic performance but also lower concentration spans leading to increased classroom disruption.

An experiment in ‘brain hydration’ carried out at an Edinburgh primary school showed that the introduction of water bottles on pupils’ desks led to a significant improvement in national test results over a 2 year period. Despite these important facts:

  • Two-thirds of children are still not getting enough drinking water, and
  • A fifth of children drink no water at all,

according to research conducted by the Department of Health and Food Standards Agency.­

So, this is rather marvellous news all round as having easy access to drinking water means a healthier and happier child, who is more able to pay attention in class, will have a better capacity to learn and will have sufficient (but not sugar-filled) energy to get through the day.

Please, contact us at AquAid today, we’ll be more than happy to take you through the choices for the optimum water cooler for use at your school; gym or play area.