Thursday 23 July 2009

Desperately Seeking Water

Mr Westworth lives in Lancashire.

Once a year he comes to France and fills up his swimming pool at his holiday home in the picturesque village across the valley from where I live.

Once a year in the summer, usually on a Saturday evening when I am very hot, very, very thirsty and ex-extremely dusty from a dirty day’s work, all water supply to kitchen and bathroom taps in my house will disappear.

These two events are not unrelated.

It will always be a Saturday evening as nobody at the water department works between Saturday lunch time and Monday afternoon.

It will usually be when my mother-in-law, a fastidiously clean woman unused to slum conditions, has chosen to visit.

Once a year on a Monday afternoon in mid summer the local representative of the water department will drive his angry way to my front door and the conversation will go like this.

‘I haven’t had any water since Saturday”
“You should buy an electric pump.”

Mr Friendly, who has a moustache that looks like it could kill you with one poke, will then open and close the outside tap.

He will do this three times, shrug his shoulders and drive away. I will not see him again for 24 hours.

Then, with timing that can only be providential, it will start raining.

It will stop when I have finally laid out every saucepan I possess.

That night strange gurgles will eminate from the toilet.

The next day Mr Evil will drive back up to the house.

“Have you bought an electric pump?”

He will then open the tap, shrug his shoulders, hmph and say “there’s no water”.

And leave.

The next morning a pathetic dribble will issue forth and over the next hour I will fill a bucket and flush the toilet.
My mother-in-law will ask me about the hotels in the nearest town.

In the afternoon the phone will ring.

“Do you have any water yet?”
“ I filled a bucket but..”
“You need an electric pump.”

Over the next two days the water will slowly gather enthusiasm to allow the shower to operate and the washing machine once more to turn.

Mr Westworth is back in Lancashire, and the summer carries on.

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