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I took the ferry (and then the train and then the subway) to Glasgow early this morning because I had to use the bathroom.

Yesterday I had BIG plans. As in BIG loads of laundry, a mountain of dirty dishes, etc.

That was until I turned on the sink tap and… nothing.

At first I thought it was our fault, because we are in the midst of replacing our hundreds-of-years old sewer pipes, a nightmare process which has seen our garden dug up on all sides of the house. I called my builder to tell him we broke the water to our street/town/island. Then my neighbor confirmed they were also waterless.

We called Scottish Water (lots) and they said there was a burst water main following a fault at the water treatment works, which actually drained the entire reservoir. [⇒NOTE FROM BARB: how is that even a thing?]. But not to worry, they cheerfully advised, because they were on it and we’d have water in an hour. We called back in an hour. Well, no problem, maybe we’d have water in a few hours. Okay, maybe by morning… The Hub was able to take care of his needs by heading outside to (as they say in Yorkshire)  water the peaches. I don’t have that useful Y-chromosome-installed equipment, so the forecast morphed into, ” Unpleasant with a chance of socially unacceptable”.

How, I wondered, could we live here, surrounded by water, and not be able to flush?

By this morning, we’d driven way past Socially Unacceptable and were cruising the neighboring streets for Utterly Disgusting. We knew we had two choices.

  1. Channel the hardy Scottish island residents of yore, grab the buckets, and head for the nearest burn (or ‘stream’ for those without hardy Scottish island predecessors or a recent screening of Brigadoon).
  2. Remember that we had the Glasgow house, where a majority of taps and loos obligingly waited to stream water on request and sometimes completely unsolicited.

The merciful gods smiled and the ferry was running for once. At the mainland, we took the train to Glasgow, then the subway to our city pièd-a-terre. There we (Thank you, Goddess Toileta!) used the heck out of the loo before turning around to head back to the island.

We’re once again back on our magic little island, our toilets are flushed with pride, and I’m remembering this post from a few years back.

Buckets and Bucket Lists.

Over the recent holiday season, the Hobbit House was full to bursting with visiting children and spouses. We had plenty of bubbly, an overachieving “solstice bush” sheltering Mt. Giftwrap (doing our part to ensure that Amazon ends the year securely in the financial black), Dr. Who Holiday Special queued up—and no cold water. No kidding. Two of the kids left.

Scottish Water came to check out the situation. I was expecting some high tech equipment to pinpoint the leaks. Instead, three cheerful men took turns listening to what looked like a wood plug mounted at the end of a metal rod. The fantastic bit was that it worked! The not-so-fantastic bit was that it pinpointed the leak as being solidly on the part that’s the homeowner’s responsibility. On a holiday weekend. We broke out the buckets to…er…prime the toilets. The rest of the kids left.

What I thought they would do

What I thought they would do

What they actually did

What they actually did

I used a pot to mark the spot over the leak on the brick patio. Plumbers were duly summoned and—exactly where the pipe-whisperers had predicted—they dug to find a pipe burst in three places. They replaced the pipe, reassembled the patio, and left.

An hour later, we discovered two things. Thing one was that there was no water in either bathroom (including toilets) and thing two was that the only working tap was in the kitchen, where the (surprisingly excellent) pressure produced a flood of water that looked like this:


This time we left too.

Our outdoor plumbing woes:

Torturing the garden.

But spring bulbs say there’s hope. And plenty of water.