That's it... I did it... I jinxed us...
After talking about how the weather is a big factor in our new rural life last week, the UK is now well and truly in the grip of a heat wave with North Wales recording the highest temp in the UK on Tuesday. Whilst most people are enjoying filling up their paddling pools and throwing water at each other... just for fun! Here, in Wales we are officially in the grip of a severe water shortage. The spring that feeds our house has slowed to a trickle and the green grass of Wales ifs slowly turning different shades of brown.
My husband and I took a walk up the hillside to our spring and water collection tank at the beginning of the week. It's located about 400 metres away as the crow flies. Doesn't sound much but it's always a fun trek over three fields, two of which currently are home to some rather curious and feisty young bulls and the other to Welsh Black heifers and their calves. Now, you think you might want to avoid the field with young bulls in, but surprisingly although they surround you they're just curious, it's the mum's and babes you have to avoid as they can be a little over protective... so off we trekked with trepidation. It's like a real life computer game... avoid the cows, climb the gates, duck under the electric fences, tackle the dry walls, dodge the Curlew nests in the marsh and finally batter back the bracken surrounding the tank to reveal the prize! So we made it... I pulled back the slab with nervous anticipation, after all we've not had proper rain for weeks now. If I could have, I'd have crossed my fingers... and what did we find? Well, we were down to a third of a tank and the spring looked like it was no longer flowing. After a few measurements of the tank and some rather clever calculations, care of my husband, we discovered that we had 1350 litres left and no rain forecast for at least 14 days! Now, I have to admit I'm not brilliant as maths, it's just not my forte, but even I calculated that with a shower taking 50 litres a time and a family of four in the house that just wasn't going to cut it.
Water saving rules are now well and truly put in place in our house: timed showers, jug hair washes, if it's yellow let it mellow (don't ask), 4 second count per cup of tea to fill kettle, taps not running when cleaning teeth, washing up once daily, praying the clean clothes we have last so I don't need to do any washing, we even have a 'Mr Hankey' stuck next to the toilet to remind the boys what to flush! (for those of you who remember South Park!) If it gets any worse, I fear my neighbours will be in for a shock when they see us all traipsing down the river in the village for a wash or we've had to dig an emergency composting toilet... (uughhh in this heat at least!). All I can say is I will be out dancing in the rain when it finally arrives.
Now I know this all sounds a little stressful, but as usual we're relishing the challenge... can we beat mother nature and make the water left in the tank last until the rain comes? Is there a way we can transport some water from the lower spring and somehow get it up the hill to the holding tank? It really does make you think carefully about this precious resource. Something that we might normally have wasted in the city, it gives you a heightened awareness of the things you often take for granted, a deeper appreciation for our fabulous British weather that we all too often complain about. Next time it rains for weeks on end I'll do my best to remember this and be eternally grateful for what I've got.
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