CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Water torture ...

Cascade The photo I liked because it reminded me of some steps in Alicante when I took the train there and it rained some 30 odd years ago. (It's probably rained a few times since.) The rain in Spain, despite the song, also falls on the sloped bits of land! :)

In the main, rainwater runs off everything on this island, because of the mountains and because of hard rock or non-pourous soil. When an excess of rain falls on "plain" flat roofs here (badly made ones) though, I'll tell you what it does: It sits there and accumulates, until it can filter through to catch you unawares.

It did it to me again after several days of heavy rains to give me a "free shower" with every visit to the bathroom: I sit on the "potty" to "mind my own business" and drip ... drip ... drip. Like the allegedly Chinese water torture.

Many will say it can't work, 'coz I was already insane and I have no proof to offer to suggest that they are wrong.

Because of this, there are parts of the walls and ceilings in this house that are a horrid green / black moldy mess: other parts that are just darkened wet, exposed cement. The dehumidifier, carries on working a 168 hour week, on my dime. But, if that wasn't enough water torture for me, on Thursday night, the water pressure in the household supply suddenly and dramatically increased.

Now that's all very well, because a few months ago I'd had to have the council increase the pressure again, because it was so pathetically low that the water heater refused to start up, leaving me no means of getting a shower.

The loo cistern began to hiss constantly under the excess pressure and, I'd known for years that the valve was "dodgy" and would break eventually, which it did on Friday morning, causing the loo to continuously flush.

The local plumber couldn't even look until Monday, so I turned the stopcock off to the toilet. Then on Friday afternoon, while I'm miles away from the bathroom, I hear a noise as the pressured water decides it will find another "path of least resistance." It had taken the (rusted) pipe bringing water to the bidet, clean off the wall. Only that didn't have a stopcock to be able to turn it off, so this high pressured jet of water was just quickly filling the house, up past my ankles.

And I didn't have a clue where the main water tap was. And nor did the landlady, when I phoned her. And none of the neighbours were around. And nobody passes this place: hell, you'd have to be lost to find it!

So, I phoned my household insurers to request an emergency plumber.

Note that one definition of an emergency is "An unforeseen occurrence or combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action or remedy; pressing necessity; exigency." Personally, I think I had one of those. But the reaction from their plumber was a sharp intake of breath followed by "Oh, no, I'm not coming up into the mountains with it getting towards nighttime ..."

And, since you do need to be lost, or mad, to find this place, he had a point.

So, from mid-afternoon Friday, all I could do was bale water out of the house as fast as I could with a broom and, until the landlady did come up at around 8 p.m. and we eventually found the main water tap (in the undergrowth, halfway down a barranco), I envisaged that I would be doing that all night until help came.

While we were scrabbling to turn off the water, the man from the supermarket arrived to deliver my grocery order. He mentioned that the water pressure here keeps going up and down and, keeps having airlocks in it. At least the landlady can't say it's my fault, or that I'm just dreaming, which is the usual "trick."

The plumbers arrived Saturday morning. They replaced the valve in the toilet cistern and attempted to replace the pipe to the bidet, but that proved too old to repair and all they could do was to cap the pipe at the wall. It's frankly not that a great loss, but this will be yet another thing that is simply never fixed.

Then, when the water was turned back on, the water heater began dripping. It had never done before. The plumbers (and I) opine that the pressure surge has screwed it up well and proper. But their "solution"? Turn the water off to it when I'm not using it, particularly at night, when the pressure is at the highest.

That is, they expect me to GO OUTSIDE to turn the water on and off at a stopcock EVERY DAMN TIME I WANT HOT WATER. And I ask you, would they do that in their own house? We all know the friggin answer to that, don't we?

In fact, this plumber was professional; cleaned up after themselves, courteous, almost sane ... compared to the usual standard of tradesmen on this island, who contrive to send people round the bend (boy am I glad it's not just me). Anyway, that too will now be left until it breaks completely, leaving me without hot water once again. When the water heater wouldn't work once before, do you know how long I was without hot water?

You'll never guess. FOUR YEARS.

Then Monday, I went to use my nearly new washing machine and ... the water was turned on to it, but the machine didn't fill and just made horrible noises.

(The old one had been helped seen off by, guess what? Yes, a massive surge in pressure, caused when the council were screwing with the water supply!)

And on top of all that, that's another pair of shoes totally ruined, my back is "broken" from hours of sweeping and mopping (alone) to get the house as dry as possible; I ache everywhere, I'm knackered, the house is even more damp, the dehumidifier is working overtime (which is costing a heap in electricity), never mind what hundreds of gallons of wasted, metered, water is going to cost me. That's FIVE floods I've suffered in this house, for one reason or another and I really wonder just how much more can I take. Not much, I don't think.

Pamela is a former accountant, recovering journalist and international cat herder, disabled and chronically sick with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia and Cervical spondylosis, fluent in three languages; English, Spanish and Rubbish. Mostly writes in the latter. She likes Genealogy, Model Railways and Cats.

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