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Sunday, July 24, 2005

vital fluids..

Granny's act as apprentice hedgehog continues till Monday. It takes up a lot of time...

Meantime; technology - or rather failed technology. Aged Mercedes won't start. Water pump has failed. No car, no water.

What you have to understand is that the water situation here is not quite like that on the dear island back home. There is no running water whatever. A (very) few lucky people have wells, getting water from the only deep underwater sources on the island. The rest of us have to rely on getting the wet stuff in two ways. The first - this used to be the only other way- via rains; of which there are virtually none between April and November. (In desperate seasons in the past when there wasn't any it had to be send over by ship from some of the wetter islands. But this couldn't happen very often.) The second way is via desalination plant and water tanker if you are very remote - or via town supply pumped into your tank twice a day - assuming no technical problems, if you are not. In the middle of last summer a dispute between the water company and the electricity company led to no water being pumped for three weeks. Rumour claimed this was due to an electricity bill unpaid by water company, whether because of insolvency, embezzlement or inefficiency is unclear; given the way things work - or don't work here - it could have been mixture of all 3. In any event consumers weren't warned, most of us learning the hard way when we found our water tanks were virtually empty.

As in Southern Spain, water tanks here are called 'aljibes' ; clearly an Arabic word. Every house has one, and th0ugh the water that comes via the water supply is purified, noone drinks it. The bottled water companies do good business. You can see why if you take off the wooden cover and prostrate yourself over Granny's aljibe; dead lizards, flies etc may not be that lethal, but the sight of them does disincline you from swallowing any water from it, unboiled.

It also has to be pumped up. This can be done by wind power - should be really - Granny and Beloved are thinking of investigating this and adding to the little windmills you see on some rural properties like theirs. But mostly it's electricity; if the electricity fails you get no water. If the pump fails as ours did, you don't get any water either. Merrily, merrily. Stinky loos for 24 hours in this case, not least. That's not to mention a stinky Granny. (It would be unkind not to say improper to mention an equally stinky Beloved.)

Water is a vexed issue in all ways. Granny and Beloved like everyone else do try to conserve it. Granny for instance, resists her beloved hot baths most of the time, (Having a hot tub helps. Probably they shouldn't really have one of these either.) It is only the desalination plants that have enabled the huge growth not only in tourism but in the population of the island - to give but two examples one entire resort has been built since 1985, while the charming little fishing village Granny stayed in in 1984 is now yet another resort and has doubled in size even since 2001 when she revisited for the first time before moving here to live in 2002. It is no longer charming.

Desalination plants of course use a lot of electricity. Tourists use a lot of water - despite discouragements from doing so. Hotel rooms are still provided with baths as well as showers. They shouldn't be. All of it adds to global warning, of which Granny is painfully aware. Probably she and Beloved shouldn't be here either. Really. But they are. Even if they are in an old house, which would otherwise have crumbled away like so many other old houses here - just as in Ireland, EU membership has led to many good citizens to building spanking new des res(s) alongside, leaving the old casa or finca to crumble, just like the Irish crofts. Shame really. The new houses built of 'bloques' ( breeze blocks to you) are much less effective in keeping out heat/weather/wind or keeping in warmth/dry too. This leads to the use of still more electricity. Just as the planes which G and D use to travel home to England at frequent intervals also help pollute the world still further.


But well, at least their eggs will come from happy, ecological chickens, fed on all kinds of good things like water melon and manky lettuce leaves (how they love lettuce.)

The plebian brown hens have been added to by four much more aristocratic fowl - black, speckled and brown - fetched yesterday from the woman with a stall at the up-island market. Meet David, Dora, Dolly, Daisy and Daphne.

Also Feline Houdini has taken to thinking he's a chicken. He hangs out in the hen house and was one day discovered taking his ease in a nesting box. The chickens don't seem to mind. The suspicion is he is there as much as anything to catch the birds that get caught in the closed run just outside. His known haul so far has been a sparrow and a ring dove. Heaven help him if he traps one of the much rarer turtle doves who've also been attracted these days by the supplies of free grain. Garotted feline? Possibly.

Beloved says; next thing we'll find him sitting on a clutch of eggs. Cat-reared chicks? Hm. That will be interesting. Needs a Vit maybe to draw it.

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