Monday morning electric blues . . . transformed!

We think the water challenges up here in Sparty Lea are finally grinding us down. Either that or we’re getting older faster. But the sudden failure of the renovated system yesterday didn’t help our mood, though we managed to eke our way through the day on the vestiges of water still in the tanks. The pump deep down in the borehole had stopped responding to calls from the water shed for more water. So our lovely system can’t get the water into the holding tanks, to purify. In all the years we’ve had the system, nearly as long as we’ve lived here, that pump has never failed. Maybe it’s getting old and tired too.

This was the state of play just gone into Sunday evening, 6:00pm and the sun was past the yardarm, as we prepared to drown our sorrows in whatever alcoholic beverage we could force down our throats. The prospect of residual water only, for the week ahead, encompassed us in unremitting gloom. The young water engineer, who had faithfully installed all the new kit, commissioning it successfully this past week, had turned up from farthest Cumbria on an emergency callout basis at 1:30 in the afternoon, to try to resolve this new issue, but after lifting the bore-hole pump, checking every possible circuit he could assess, and getting no output from the pump, was forced to admit he was stymied. [Incidentally, to my mind, the mark of a true professional is the ability to admit just how far they can go, and considering the unique complexity of our system, we would unhesitatingly recommend this Private Water Business to anyone who cares to ask us.] Fortunately for us, our beloved neighbour Chris Welton, also faithfully assisting in the crucial gopher-tasks for the necessary fix, is an expert at interrogating Google for useful information, and he retrieved the wiring diagram for the bore-hole pump.

“It looks like the capacitor is burnt out, Larry” he exclaimed excitedly, “And I’ve put in a panic call to Glenn Nattrass and he’s on his way up.” Fifteen minutes later, Glenn was on site (he kindly came immediately since he had other responsibilities for the next three days), and within minutes he’d identified both a burnt-out capacitor and a burnt-out 30 hour timer (the timer restricts the pump from disturbing the first settling tank, which eliminates much of the iron and manganese precipitate from our raw water). The capacitor was quickly replaced; the timer was worked-around until a new one could be ordered and installed; soon enough the basic system was functioning again, as the tanks steadily filled with water. Whew! Meanwhile, although we’d salvaged some water from the little swimming pool half-filled for the grandsons’ play on Saturday, as we prepared for the worst, it was now a case of ‘surplus to requirements,’ and life felt a little more normal.

So this diary today goes out with rather less of the Monday morning blues than we’d feared, and much, much more of an appreciation for heroic local engineers like Glenn, who has saved us on many other occasions at the bakery and even on our old motorhome. Without solid, dependable and acutely intelligent local engineers, we simply could not survive, even with the best attention to developing our own DIY skills. Thank you Glenn, we’re so grateful for your prompt service!

As Chris suggested, the entry today should finish with a paean to electricity, since we don’t get water here without it. We think of water as one of the basic human needs, along with warmth or fire, but nowadays electricity comes before the water, to be fair. It’s one of the reasons for purchasing a high capacity generator that can supply both houses, in case we experience a prolonged power outage, of course. In the end, our water blues had turned into an electric blues, of the sort even Muddy Waters couldn’t resolve, but of the kind that an experienced and perspicacious electrician could quickly sort. Now, about that yardarm.

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