Thursday, 3 November 2011

Water, water everywhere ...

... but not a drop to flush the lav with.

Today's the first day since March in 2011 I've had socks and shoes on and anything more than a T-shirt.

October is one of the nicest months on Flores with calm, clear days. It's a real Indian summer and all the plants and shrubs start to flower again until a big storm comes along in November to mark the onset of winter and trashes them (there's no other word for it) - the vines, the hibiscus, the bougainvillea - with the salmoura (salt spray). It comes as a shock every year but if anyone's "data-mining" this for climate change research purposes, it happened on the 1st November in 2011.

Jings, I've just read that previous paragraph back and it makes me sound like some kind of hippy-dippy, tree-hugging eco-warrior. Far from it - I've got a carbon footprint the size of Greece's sovereign debt and I'm quite comfortable with it. (Unlike Greece. Or Italy. Don't let me digress onto that.)

Where was I? Oh yes - yesterday's perfect storm. First one of 2011 which photo above doesn't really capture at all. Not only was the electricity off and on all day - we're used to that - BUT THE WATER WENT OFF as well.

I put that in CAPITALS because the initial reaction was any excuse not to have to do the dishes by candle light was a good thing. But that was before the dire implications became clear - when the electricity goes off you can light a candle but there's no quick fix to not being able to flush the lav.

We had a team talk "You need a pee and we've got two flushes left - is this a good use of resources?" It reminded me of "Did he fire six shots or only five? You gotta' ask yourself a question, do I feel lucky?"

"Well, do you punk?"
I'll spare you the full details of how this resource allocation scenario panned out [yes I did type that with no irony intended] and suffice to say, we found ourselves this morning around 8am gathering every receptacle in the house together. That included emptying a half drunk bottle of wine (the fact it was merely half drunk in our household is a rare enough event.) Then we drove to Ponta da Faja to fill them all from a public tap - I'd remembered from translating Pierluigi's definitive history of Flores that PdF has a different water source from Faja Grande. Before I remembered that, I'd been thinking about the mill lade to the water mill at Fajazinha. But just as I was about to strip atavistically to the waist and stride out in search of man's most basic need, I turned on the tap and it was flowing again. Phew!

Great, now I can have a nice hot shower and stick the electric kettle on for a cup of instant coffee and generally increase my carbon footprint to the size of Novaya Zemlya (and if you don't know where that is, it's easier to spot on Google Earth now the ice has melted round about it).

But it did get me thinking about composting toilets. Well not for too long as I'm not sure they'd work work very well en suite. Apparently the flies are the problem. Anyway (back in the real world), we've not yet poured away all the bottles and pans of water we assembled today. Once bitten twice shy and all that.

    Makes you think.