A lot of bottle

Published 31 May 2017

A blue Sigg bottle on a hillside

In my house there is a motley collection of metal water bottles. Well if you can call having three of them “a collection”.

Two are made by Swiss bottle manufacturer Sigg; a company that is certainly royalty in the world of water bottles. One is large and blue, the other smaller and mettalic green. Both have other things in common besides their manufacturer. For the paint is scratched and peeling, and the metal is bashed and they have copious amounts of dents. They’re both many years old. Perhaps ten or so. Perhaps older.

The third is far newer. A far less fancy red thing from Eurohike bought as a present by a parent who probably saw the state of the other two and decided a replacement would be in order. It’s fine enough but it lacks the character of its older cousins. For character comes with dents.

It has been said to me that the number of dents in a bottle are a sign of a well loved one. The person who said that was probably thinking more of dents coming from accidents involving bottles being dropped on rocks, and things like that, and all of my bottles have had a share of that. All three of them have accompanied me on journeys down trails and up fells.

The reality though is that many of the green bottle’s dents came from more mundane surroundings, for that bottle accompanied me for many years in tube trains to the office as part of my daily commute. Several of the dents can be attributed to me dropping the bottle on the platform of a London Underground station; the loud klang of the metal hitting the concrete of the platform, ringing through the tunnel the station sat in.

A red water bottle in the grass

The green bottle also has a large lump of limescale that appears to be impervious to any attempts to remove it; a lasting legacy to the sixteen years I spent living in the hard water area that is the UK’s capital city.

As a bottle Ol’ Greeny is probably well past it. But I will keep using it for as long as I can. I have already replaced the cap on it due to the official starting to leak. And there will surely be a time when there is a dint in the metal that proves to be fatal and it can hold water no more. Then, and only then, will that parent be right and the bottle will need to go.

I just hope when it does finally die, it does so somewhere appropriate; the sides of Ben Nevis or the top of Pen-y-ghent or something. Preferably on the way down when I won’t care about the loss of precious H2O. But will I manage to part with it that easily? For as much as a bottle’s character comes from its dents, just as much comes from the journeys it has made with you.

Even if many of them just involved getting on a train to work five days a week.

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