As the world became a little warmer frozen piped burst, and here in Treleddyd fawr it was as if the tiger ad come to tea and drunk ‘all the water in the taps’. Friday evening, I think it was, the water went off. We checked the website, reported the fault, but it seemed Dwr Cymru were in meltdown themselves, struggling to cope with a system under stress. But it would be ok. Two hours without water. No worries.
Next day they said it would be back on at lunch time. By the next day I had stopped believing. All the water was sold out in the local shop. It took until Tuesday for any bottled water to be sent round and then there was confusion over where the drop off and collection was from.
Still ok for us, in a way. There’s an old well in the village and we took buckets of water from there to flush the toilet. It’s amazing how much more economical with the flush you become when you have to carry the buckets from the well.
I took some of the water to paint with also. I work in watercolour. Hard to use, without water.
It was much harder for my neighbours. They have five horses, two donkeys, two pigs and two goats. Mixing food, carrying huge buckets to water the animals. No joke aged 60 and 65. Hauling water out from an old irrigation pond. When the water went off the pond was frozen.
As the weather warmed it became easier, but after five days I was beginning to think we might all be having communal bathing sessions in the spring fed pond also. It’s alive with singing frogs as it warms, beautiful, and newts.
I found not being able to wash my hands with ease one of the hardest things, and Jan struggled too, with the cold and the water, and the lifting and she has delicate skin so now her hands are ragged and sore. Hard working, ragged and sore.
Other neighbours are farmers, with sheep, lambs, cows, and no water….
One of my problems was that I stretch my paper before painting on it. Fed up with being told that the water would be back on by lunch time, every day, I took two sheets of paper down the beach to where the stream comes off the land to meet the sea.
I soaked them in the water, taped them to my boards and brought them home to dry.
And then I painted an otter, using the wild well water and the paper stretched at the beach.
Five days with no water, and such a relief this morning when I flushed the loo and heard the tank begin to fill. Cold water came out of the tap to wash hands, then hot. I washed hands, washed face, brushed teeth, tackled the washing up mountain, cleaned the bathroom….
but for some this is how it always is. No water, or water you have to carry, risking life and limb to fetch it. I’d been wondering how people with small children were coping during these five days. Imagine losing your child to death because of waterborne diseases, or no water. Imagine trying to cook, keep clean, grow food, with no water. Because five days without what we take for granted in the western world, turning on the tap, flushing toilets, washing clothes, five days was a trial is other people’s normality and a lifetime of this is another matter.
I spoke, in the end, to someone from Dwr Cmyru. I was aware that they had all been working so hard to reinstate our supply. Perhaps if communications had been managed with more honesty we would have been less frustrated. But now the water was back, although still a little unreliable, and we are so grateful to those who have found the problem, fixed it. And we were talking about Water Aid.
Water Aid changes lives and Dwr Cymru’s water engineers continue to work with Water Aid projects every year. So this otter is for sale, this otter who grew from frustration of being without something that is the stuff of life, who was born on the shore of Whitesands Beach, painted with ink and water from our well, to raise funds to help build wells in other lands. This wild otter who swam onto the page like a dream.
£1 000 (Sold, but there will be more otters and am happy to add people to a waiting list for inked otters, some for charity and some to keep the wolf from my door.)
All money donated to donated to Water Aid.
If you would like to buy this otter email me. I will send you the link to donate. If you could share, then that would be wonderful.
Thanks to all at Dwr Cymru. So glad you are a not for profit company. Of all the utilities sold off over the years this is the one I could never understand. No one can live without water. Water is life.