Strange but inevitable that, writing from an island with little in the way of natural water - apart from the salt stuff we can see from almost every window here - Granny finds herself talking about water very often on this blog. Here we go again - sorry. Last week saw the inevitable crisis with the local water company, Inalsa. A fire at one of their desalination plants two days before she and Beloved arrived home did for 40% of the island's supply. If there were reserves this would have been less of a problem. As it turned out there are no reserves to speak of. Practically every last drop turned out on any one day goes to the consumers.
Inalsa, Granny discovered, is owned and run by the Cabildo, the island council. The party never in power here, the Partido Popular - the Spanish equivalent of the Tory Party - blames naturally the parties that have been in power: in particular they blame PSOE, the socialist party. But then they would, wouldn't they? One of the PP party members, now a councillor for his local ayuntamiento (town council) Granny and Beloved's friend, Mr Jonah, does so vociferously. (Granny tries to avoid talking politics with Mr J. He knows where she stands, no less than he knows where she does. A little mutual mockery covers all eventualities.) Granny on the other hand thinks it would be the same whatever the party; noone here unless their noses rubbed in it think much beyond short term profits; long-term plans are either shelved or trampled on. This is why building goes on, expats, tourist welcomed in without any regard to an inadequate infrastructure, in terms of all utilities, electricity no less than water. On a wind-blown island the amount of wind power used is pathetic. On a nearly waterless one, new build goes in ignoring all long-term historical experience of, knowledge of, storing and using the rain that falls in winter. Granny and Beloved's house being old does have storage facilities. In the winter they sometimes do not need to call on piped water supplies. During this crisis, their aljibe managed to provide what was needed, though they did cut down their demand. Those in newer houses without adequate water storage weren't so lucky.
Not that Granny and Beloved knew from the water company that they needed to cut down their demand. Consumers are never forewarned when work needs to be done on power or water supplies, or on roads either. Last week there were was a four hour power cut, for instance. Were they warned? Were they warned their own nearest street was going to be blocked for several days? They were not.
The water problem is especially scary, though. Given the hugely augmented population here, a world oil crisis, disappearance of electricity, whatever, could leave a large number of people dying of thirst. It doesn't bear thinking about.
A thirsty Granny will now go in search of her bottled, brought in by boat (what would happen were there no boats?) water. She doesn't fancy the stuff from the aljibe, whether full or not, given the lizards, mice etc, which drown in it sometimes, if only for aesthetic reasons. Not least it does not taste nice.
One new chicken has died, for no reason, after closing its eyes, huddling up, refusing to eat all yesterday. One bantam hen has had to removed from her chicks because she was bullying them. Smallholding life is life in the raw. Ole.