Saturday, 22 June 2013

summer solstice

water running through the emergency piping into house via outdoors tap


Well, serves me right for moaning about the rain yesterday. All that heavenly water falling from the skies…..

What happened was at the end of the afternoon , I turned on the tap and nothing, no water; I had noticed a drop in the pressure earlier on, but hadn’t given it too much thought as ‘they’ are working on the water pipes in the dike and have been doing so this past week. Wednesday morning they cut through a power cable whilst digging and they sorted that out soon enough….This afternoon was nothing new, the same drop in pressure had occurred the day before, by six o’clock things had returned to normal, barring the gaping holes dug up by the wayside on the dike. To all intents and purposes they are reinforcing the water pipes along the dike to protect the dike. The men doing the actual reinforcing aren’t from the water company (a privatised firm named Vitens), but a private contracter hired not by the water company (as became clear to me in the phone conversation later on) so I can only assume the Hoogheemraadschap = Dutch water board, a public body charged with managing the dikes in Holland, hired the contractor. From what I had gleaned on my daily walk past these fellows their job was to improve the quality of the water pipes, especially where they connect and veer off towards the houses, so they're less likely to burst and flood the dike, compromising it's strength; important work, of the utmost importance. One would think, a task one would only embark upon equipped with the right information. Suffice to say, after what has happened these past few days, I'm not entirely sure the dikes are more secure. 

Back to yesterday, Friday evening no water! Summer Solstice, the longest day, the longest day indeed……. What to do, I went over to the neighbours on either side of our house; they both had water. They did mention another neighbor having been cut off during the day, but that had been remedied by ‘them’.
I decided to ring the water company, a very kind lady told me not to worry, she totally got that we couldn’t live without water and we would be helped before the weekend actually started. She contacted a service guy, whilst we were on the phone and informed me he had one visit near to us (the main watertap had been broken off by a watermeterman…..) As soon as he was done there he would visit us. I was kind of assured by this prompt response on the phone.
However, I also decided it might be worth my while to see if I could get in touch with somebody from the workforce who had done the actual digging, my reasoning being they would know what they’d done, but shouldn’t have. Anyway, whoever got here first could help me out. I found a phone number on one of the contractor’s road sign warning posts, spoke to the guy responsible for our part of Holland (the Middle) and he promised me he would get in touch with the men who had been here today.
In the meanwhile I filled a couple of bottles with drinking water from the neighbours' outdoors tap, collected rainwater in buckets for flushing the toilet and waited impatiently.
Long story short: a young man from the water company showed up, already dressed for an evening at home: football shorts, slippers and t-shirt. We shook hands, he checked the mains in our cellar, definitely no water; he followed me up the dike, where he inspected the waterworks,  muttered something about the shambles they’d left behind and discovered what the problem was. More importantly, he knew exactly how he was going to fix it. He needed emergency plastic waterpiping and as he didn’t have enough in his van, he drove off to a supply point nearby, after having reassured me he would be back and I’d have water the same evening, no matter what madam. A very capable young man.
Whilst he was off in search of piping, I got a phone call from the contracter, who had tried contacting one of the guys who’d been here to come and sort out my problem, the problem they had created. None of them were answering their phone on a Friday evening, duh. He apologized and blamed the maps they had been given and I was like, yes I understand you were misinformed, but you went ahead anyway, after having cut off someone else's water supply and you didn't think to check before you did it again! I still haven’t got any water thanks to you and now someone else is going to have to fix it, no thanks to you. And if I may give you a piece of advice: next time you realize the maps aren’t to be trusted, ask somebody who does have the correct information! They will be back on Monday, we are forewarned.

All’s well that ends well: before I knew it, the water company guy (who had achieved super-hero-status in my mind by now) showed up at my studio door: he had connected the emergency piping, problem solved madam, could you please check the taps indoors for pressure. Yes: water gushed forth, cool clear clean drinkable showerable flushable* water from my taps!
I offered him something to drink, we had coffee and  a chat together; we shook hands and off he went into the sunset.

That, in a nut shell, was my summer solstice!



note to self:

I must remember to email the water company singing his praises.

* what a waste

one of the gaping holes along the dike


emergency piping snaking it's way through the back garden up towards the dike

even one of  the warning sign posts has given up

3 comments:

saskia said...

email has been sent;-)

Julie S said...

i think the contractors have many cousins in pennsylvania. perhaps they even trained here.

saskia said...

they're a world wide web of their own!