About three times a year, usually when it is raining so hard that Noah would be doing a jig for joy, my water runs out. I have a cunning system of ancient tanks buried in the mountain side that siphon water off the spring through some ancient plastic pipe to my house. Every now and then, to make sure that I don't take anything as luxurious as running water for granted, this system has a nervous breakdown and stops working. Today is one of those 'now and then' moments.
A couple of evenings ago I had gone to help a friend exercise some horses (faintly terrifying experience as they are both retired racehorses that don't know they have retired). I got back home in one piece and decided to run myself a luxurious bath to wallow in. I started running the taps and wandered off downstairs to watch something gripping on television and eat toast. Returning slightly more brain dead and overladen with delicious calories I found a wonderful, hot bath that was the colour of Coke Cola. Now if you think a bath filled with Coke (other brands are available) is a luxury then you should have been at my house, you would have been delighted. I was less happy about it.
I'm not obsessively fussy about these things. When the weather is particularly bad my water usually takes on a faintly muddy hue, rather like Scottish bath water in the far north which is permanently peat stained. However, this particular bath was well beyond Scottish. A lot further - greenland maybe. It was a lustrous dark colour that could have maintained an entire eco system. This is usually a sign that there is trouble at the tanks.
I released the Loyal Hound out into the wilds and donned my galoshes. Having fought my way over the raging torrent that is the stream, and hacked my way through a forest of thistles I made it to the first tank. Sure enough it had water sitting in it, but no water actually entering it. This is a bad sign. The next tank up revealed all. It was merrily overflowing in a cascade of joyous waterfalls. Much experience of this has taught me that there is no way to tackle this problem without getting drenched so I wrestled the concrete cover off the tank, releasing yet more torrents of water as I did so. Water was coming at a terrifying force into the tank but none was going out. Having pulled the Loyal Hound out of the tank (he fell in trying to see what I was doing) I then rather uselessly prodded at the outflow pipe in the hope that I would discover some suicidal frog wedged in the front end of the pipe. No such luck (well lots of luck for the frog you could argue).
I have now gone and borrowed some drainage rods from the farmer and am about to trek back up the mountain in the hope of sorting the problem out.
The really frustrating thing about this is that every single time I have run out of water it has been for a different problem. There is no easy fix that would prevent this ever happening again. Then again, it could be worse. I could have friends staying. They are amused by going to the pond with buckets for the first ten minutes and then start grumbling under their breaths before coming up with weak excuses to return to their own homes and running water as quickly as possible. The last time this happened, friends were on their way to stay with me and thought they would ring and find out if there was anything they could get at the shop on the way. They took the news that 10 litres of water would be useful with impressive restraint. I then had to suggest that they bath their baby in my kitchen sink using Evian water. (To be fair, they went for the idea with gusto!) Who says life is dull in the country.
Now, wish me luck - I'm going back in........
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