Well it's been a long, hot, sweaty week. The rain has failed to materialise, despite my best rain dance efforts to coax it from the sky. The UK and our home in North Wales has continued to be clasped firmly in the grips of a heatwave. Our grass has turned progressively browner all week, it now has the most bizarre crispy feel when you walk on it and it's all starting to look more like the Mediterranean than wet Wales we are all too accustomed to. I've become an obsessive water watcher. I can reliably inform you how many litres of water each daily household task will take. My most shocking discovery being that the washing machine, on a standard wash, uses 57.5 litres of water per cycle - I nearly collapsed when I read this... yes, I think I may be turning into a one woman water eco warrior. I really can't tell you how much it pained me to see my son's school footie team losing last Friday night. They didn't top the league because of it. As if that wasn't bad enough the winners proceeded to take off their shirts and squirt each other with their water bottles... it was all I could do to: A) Stop myself from shouting at them for this blatant disregard for such a 'precious' resource, B) Running in myself for a quick shower , C) Instructing my husband and son to do the same!
So there we were, with an ever dwindling supply of water. Our spring had officially stopped, not a drop coming from it and we had a little under a quarter of the tank left to our names, despite all our best water saving efforts. This is where the fun began (well when I say fun I mean hard graft and a bit of lateral thinking). We are fortunate enough to have a wonderful neighbour, whose land we have the right to drive across in order to get to our house. En-route there is a spring that apparently never dries up (and now seriously, I have crossed everything at this point and I'm touching wood as we speak), oh dear, did I say that out loud? This spring currently runs off down the hill with some soaking back into the ground to be re-absorbed in a hopefully never ending circle. Any how, our neighbour kindly offered for us to help ourselves to the spring, which was fantastic. We could have either filled bottles and taken them back up to the house, to be used as and when, or try to come up with a way of transporting this precious cargo to the catchment tank that feeds the house a mile or so up the hill. Obviously we relish a challenge , so after a recy to our catchment tank, we discovered that we could use an alternative farm track to get the majority of the way and only had two fields after that to drive through which luckily contained sheep and not bulls!
Next problem was how to transport the water. We remembered we were using an old loft water storage tank off the greenhouse to collect rainwater for my plants. With a bit of siphoning, into just about every spare container we owned, we set about cleaning it out ready to use. We were also lucky enough to inherit 4 large brewing barrels, from my late father-in-law. With all these goodies in tow in our little trailer we set off down the hill. There was just one problem, we couldn't do this at any time of day, as it is the only access road to the farm. It's a steep single track road and we knew we'd be blocking it for sometime (with a little more brainy maths care of my husband, we'd already figured out that it would take at least one and a half hours to fill the tank and 45 mins to fill the brewing barrels). Ultimately it meant we had to fill the tank at night, when the risk of holding up farm traffic had gone. So off we traipsed... at 10.30pm. Staying out until gone midnight filling up a water tank might not sound like much fun, but it has it's benefits. We were entertained by twilight nature giving us a fabulous display: young badgers, owls, foxes chasing rabbits and bats flitting. This, coupled with a nice flask of hot chocolate meant it really wasn't all that bad. The following day we took out booty up the hill, to our surprise it worked a treat. Using our garden hose we were able to park up hill (thanks Volvo) and let the wonderful laws of physics transfer it speedily into our storage tank. This was a real family effort, with the boys joining in, it's been fantastic to see them growing in knowledge and understanding throughout this week. So, two trips completed so far and, I know it doesn't sound much, but I'm happy to report we added a whole..... 550 gallons to our tank. Hard work, but so worth it to have the luxury of running taps (albeit timed ones still!) A few more trips and hopefully, as long as the lower spring keeps running, we'll make it through this rather long hot summer we're all enjoying.
But I'm still secretly praying for rain... sorry folks!
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