This means ‘a lesson in life, treasure your water!’
So it has been a month since I last posted, and what a month it has been!!
It has been hot here since the end of May and our friends Mary and Den came over just as a full heatwave hit, with temperatures of thirty eight degrees in the day and thirty degrees at night. So we filled the paddling pool up, and sprayed the dogs but in the back of Rich and my mind was that we are on well water and it has been really dry here for months. So much so we re-used the water from the paddling pool to water the plants and veggies.
And then the worst happened! I came home from staying at a friends to find Rich stressed to the max because although the pump was hammering away and pumping as hard as it could (sorry it sounds a bit like a porno!) the water pressure in our tank was not going up. So we opened the well and whilst we could see water it was a long, long way down and way below the pipe line that fed our pump. Our well had in fact run dry.
Most of you know we are working on a tight budget and could not afford (or so we thought as the little spin doctor in our mind told us) to have mains water connected to our house. France is so vast water is not automatically available and the road has to be dug up for the pipe and you have to pay for that. On the Facebook sites there are horror stories of the cost and we just thought “That’s it! We have no water, we are f*****d!!)
But I am not one to give up easily and I calmed Rich down and said that we would manage; and we did. We went and bought numerous five litre water bottles and used them. Our dear friends all rallied around us, some offered us showers in their homes, one even offered us to live in her home because she is away. Our dear friend Jan brought round three twenty five litre bottles full of water twice and offered us baths at her house. In fact the kindness and generosity that we received from so many people was overwhelming.
We bought a new plastic watering can and then filled it up by boiling some water and adding cold and then stood on a plastic stool and showered each other – you had to move bloody fast but we did have a laugh, especially my poor husband who is over six foot tall and I am only five foot four inches! He had to crouch for me to get the height! We even ordered a solar camping shower from Amazon. The loo was filled up by the garden watering can.
When we first moved here we had no facility for water in the toilet so we bought this…
It is an eighteenth century tap, where you fill the copper pot and then turn the small copper tap and hey presto running water (was probably state of the art at the time.) Thank God we did because Rich set it up in the kitchen, by tying it to our existing kitchen tap, so that we could wash our hands after handling food.
There are launderettes all over France in every town and for eight euro you can have an eighteen kilo wash, so off I went to use their facilities.
What it showed us both is that we have resilience, we are both in our fifties and lived through the summer of 76 when England suffered a drought to such a degree that water had to be ferried from the north of England to the south, and the water was only available by stand pipe at the end of the road. I can still remember queuing with my mum with every available thing we could find to ferry water, buckets, watering cans, bowls and saucepans; and Rich and I did wonder how young people from England would cope with something like this, as we just seemed to slot back into what we had learnt all those years ago.
But I am not going to lie, I missed not having a washing machine, or a dishwasher, as it seemed as if I could just not get the plates as clean; but most of all to not have running water is awful, and made us both realise how much we have taken water for granted. We won’t ever do that again. As we were ferrying in over a hundred litres of water that friends had allowed us to get from their taps Rich started to say “here is Richard, he has to walk three hours a day for water!!”
So after prompting from friends I contacted the water company and it appears that there is a way for us to have the water connected, and a way to pay. I should have known that there is always an answer, and I am glad that I listened to good friends when they nagged me to bite the bullet, not be afraid, and find out.
So I called the water company and managed, in French, to arrange for an engineer to come out and for them to send us the relevant documents. We do not know how much it will cost yet as you have to fill in a form to ask for an estimate (only in France!) which I have done. After three days of waiting for the engineer to arrive, and a bank holiday and weekend in the middle, a lovely young man came out and advised us to ask our neighbour if he would agree to a temporary meter to be fitted to his pipe so that they could bill us separately. Of course our neighbour, who is tres gentile and our friend agreed and the next day we had water.
I cannot begin to explain the feeling of not having water readily available to you, especially hot running water, and I can honestly say that I am ashamed that I did not treasure something so simple, I should have known better!
So now we are using shorter programmes on the washing machine and dishwasher, not because of the water being metered but because we have had it rammed home to us what a precious commodity it is.
The other thing I have come to realise is that we are blessed with really really good friends (they know who they are) and each other, because we met this challenge head on, as a team, and with a sense of humor. (Although Rich did have a bit of a wobble.)
I am back folks, thanks for continuing to read my blog, there will be more coming as I have to raise my profile now, I will be sending my book to some publishers in September (and no, it is not about this adventure but another adventure that Rich and I had ten years ago that inevitably brought us to France)
If you like my blog please share and get it out there, I will be forever grateful.