Wednesday 23 October 2019

Watergate - an analogy

Not a bath.
If you've been following me on Twitter, you're probably aware of my ongoing problem with water. Or a lack thereof. The problem is fairly simple, my water comes from a well, though this in itself was contentious, the well fills from the ground water and an *electric pump draws the water up, pressurises a tank to 3.5 bar and is then delivered through the house by pipes.

A modern miracle.

The contentious part is that many people on the island believed that I am on a borehole, as most now are. But I'm not. To settle this, the lovely Aunty Helen called her brother to ask about it as he'd done the renovation work when her aunt and uncle lived here. Sure enough he confirmed that this work was done before the borehole that feeds other buildings in Mon Plaisir was sunk. In fact, it was done before the other buildings had been built.

During the conversation she pointed out, quite rightly, that originally there would have been no running water and it would have all been drawn by hand-pump from the well.

Ah, the good old days.

And that got me thinking. Surely running water is like the European Single Market.

Why? Well, as with the Single Market, and as hailed by brexiteers everywhere, we used to get on without it just fine. We can easily return to those times and there will be blue skies, girls in pinafore dresses, picnics and lashings of ginger beer.

Not to mention the sparkly unicorns.

The problem is this. Since the conversion the nature of the infrastructure changed.

A new fangled electric pump was installed along with pipes and taps to give just-in-time delivery. No more going out to the hand-pump, pail in hand, as the wind whistled by at 50mph with horizontal rain. A flushing toilet was installed, no need for an outhouse or for a chamber pot to relieve those middle of the night calls of nature. And a shower, what bliss, heated by an oil boiler, stored in a tank and delivered under pressure to make you clean and refreshed for the day ahead, those glorious bygone days of fetching the tin bath, boiling water on the range and spending a quick moment in an inch of lukewarm water.

Once a week whether you needed to or not.

Even the heating changed, instead of fires in each room a move could be made to a new fangled system, timer and thermostat controlled to ensure a house was cosy whenever you wanted it. Bliss.

Or at least it would be bliss so long as the frictionless movement of water from the well to the house was maintained.

Firemen showing me their hose...
And this is what has happened in the UK with the European Single Market, the infrastructure changed, the supply lines aligned with great efficiency to provide a seamless means of getting stuff from A to B when you wanted it without effort.

But if you take that away... Things break. My actual Wexit.

Suddenly the toilet no longer flushes, the shower doesn't work, the washing machine stands idle. I have neither a tin bath nor a tub and mangle to replace what I've lost, but even if I did I would have to schlep down the lane carrying endless buckets of water to boil very slowly in a range of pots and kettles to clean with. And my dishes are piling up.

Of course, I adapted, you have to, as the UK will adapt. But I can promise you that having to stroll across the island to the public loos when you wish to do more than spend a penny, is not pleasant in a storm. Neither is waltzing down that muddy lane with jugs for water to cook with. Or buying bottled water at a premium.

Fortunately I have plenty of wet wipes to keep myself clean. Ish. If I had a bath I could of course have taken a leaf out of the 1950s handbook and boiled water for that luxuriating one inch soak. But I don't.

It's a good job I live alone.

The analogy goes further. As a deal is struck to bring water back in to the system you will find things have changed. Dumping 600 gallons of water in to a few hundred year old well using a firehose is guaranteed to stir up the mud and sediment that lurks 28' below the surface. This isn't good.

So whilst some services return, I can flush the loo, the washing machine remains idle, the cooking water comes from down the lane, the shower is unused, dishes are unwashed and drinking water comes in a bottle. Over time the water settles and bit by bit I can use more of it. But the seamless integration that existed before Wexit is a distant memory. And all the while I'm aware that it's a matter of time before the water stops again.

Of course I'm hoping that I will find things better under the WTO (Well Turned Off) rules as a deal is forged with the borehole outside Mon Plaisir Stores. But even that is filled with uncertainty as I don't know when it might happen.

Island life.

* also an issue

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