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Wet, wet, wet!
• WATER: Paul Whitelock has had enough of water lately - flooded houses and gardens, rising damp, sewage, a drowned horse and dirty well water. What else could go wrong?
Over the last two years Paul Whitelock’s relationship with water and wetness has been fascinating. From a flooded house in England to a leaking house in Spain; from a downpour on his wedding day to falling in the canal on honeymoon; from a flooded garden and sewage on the lawn to a sodden field and rising damp; from an overflowing storage tank, via a drowned horse, to contaminated well water. Then to cap it all his domestic water and heating system crashed!
Yes, it’s been quite a wet two years. After freakish low temperatures in the UK in January 2010, the pipes in my house in Warrington burst and gallons of water flooded a bathroom, landing, hall and cellar causing 1000s of pounds worth of damage. That took six months to dry out and renovate. See http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/180-wash-lane-awash.html. At least it won’t happen again – I sold the house.
In the meantime, unusually wet weather in the Serranía de Ronda for three years on the run caused leaks and damp in our house in Montejaque, which required repair, drying out and total redecoration. See http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/110-rain-rain-go-away-1.html .
In July 2010 it poured down on the day of our civil wedding in Germany, but two days later it had cleared up, leaving a day of hot sunshine for our church ceremony. But water reared its murky head again when, during our honeymoon in August, I took an impromptu dip in the canals of Friesland, northern Holland (http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/343-man-overboard.html).
When we moved in February 2011 to our new home, the first rains flooded the garden and turned our field into something reminiscent of the Somme in 1916. We also noticed damp and efflorescence at the base of our internal walls – no DPCs here, of course!
We drained the garden by excavating a stream across it leading into the arroyo below, but we still had the problem of several natural sources of water serving our field overflowing because of blocked underground pipes. Read about it here: http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/499-waterworld.html
In August a water tragedy struck. A friend’s horse, Perdita, which was living in our field, ended up in our alberca, the open air storage tank. The fire brigade spent five hours draining it and rescuing the poor animal. Although a vet checked her over, by the following day Perdita had sadly died.
In the summer our depósito, which stores our well water before being pumped to the house on demand, overflowed. The sondas, or probes, which are supposed to cut off the supply before it rises too high, had failed.
In the autumn, in anticipation of another wet winter, we got a new system of underground pipes and arquetas installed, which has brought all the water arriving unchecked into our field under control. See http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/10/26/spanish-irrigation-unravelled/
Our damp internal walls were re-plastered and repainted in the hope that all the water that had ended up under the house in previous years would not return.
In November we noticed that our domestic water – from our own well – was yellow in colour. I got a sample analysed and we learned that it was contaminated with animal or human bacteria and should not be used. A treatment of concentrated Chlorine soon sorted that problem out and we thought our bad experiences with water were over…..
….. but in December, after a short trip away, we returned to a malfunctioning water and heating system in the house. Fortunately that was soon rectified by the técnico.
As I write, we now have a lack of water. It’s not rained for weeks, so I have to water the plants again. The lawn has turned brown.
Let’s hope 2012 brings some water but no more water problems!
© Paul WhitelockSee also Paul Whitelock's Andalucía blog
Paul Whitelock is a retired Ofsted school inspector and former UK languages teacher. He now lives with his German wife near Ronda and is a freelance journalist, translator and interpreter. Paul can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by telephone on (+34) 636 52 75 16.
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