Nor any drop to drink… for a bit


Most of the time, knowing that the water flowing from our taps comes straight off the moors is a rather splendid thing. Unsullied by chemical intervention (although passed through UV filtration before reaching us) we’re treated daily to beautifully sweet, heather-tinged water which has come to us through many layers of Dartmoor peat and granite before landing in the glass (kettle, washing machine, shower or loo, for that matter).

Sometimes though, this rustic idyll isn’t quite all it’s cracked-up to be – and that was the case last night when, upon attempting to fill the kettle for a mid-evening brew, our hitherto aqueous cupboard was found to be somewhat bare.

At this point, being plumbed into the mains and having an innocent victim trapped in a South West Water call centre to shout at seemed a far, far better state of affairs than our bespoke off-grid solutions, of which we’d previously been quite smugly proud. Suddenly, from nowhere, life had all become very Stig of the Dump, with visions of long trips to far-flung moorland springs, weighed-down by a miscellany of buckets, bottles, jugs & vases suddenly coming into sharp relief. Cue typhoid, dysentery and cholera rife across the lands, pitched battles with neighbouring clans over water rights, fighting-off wild dogs, pigs & chickens turned feral and vicious by thirst – all of these imagined horrors kicked-in about ten seconds after the last feeble gurgle issued from the kitchen tap.

And so began a seemingly endless evening of hankering for large glasses of water (not normally our nocturnal tincture of choice), insatiable longing to rinse out socks & handkerchiefs for no apparent reason, and a near-hysterical need to pointlessly flush toilets at random. Torture!

Fast forward to a fitful night’s sleep spent dreaming of Saharan sand dunes, lunar landscapes and weekend camping trips to Patagonia. In the middle of all this somnambulant mania though, when the hours were at their wee-est and smallest, the household was suddenly awoken by ominous demonic rumblings from above, later identified as the header tank in the attic gurgling into life as the cold water feed suddenly turned itself back on. We were saved!

As I type, we still have no clue as to what the hell happened last night and why the moorland water gods temporarily forsook us; however, I can confirm that we’re still very much in the running water business right now and so have spent the morning dashing around the house, flushing toilets, running showers, putting in loads of laundry and guzzling glasses of H20 with gay abandon. The plumber is due to call at some point, to offer a clean bill of health to our pipes & drains; however, in the meantime you’ll find me down at the bottom of the garden, building a shrine to Juturna.

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