Held Together By An Old Number Plate…….

Well the land of sand has been rocked by the return of the gruesome twosome.  Yeap, it is a 2 week half-term so the UK has been given a period of respite care and Saudi Arabia has heroically stood up to the challenge and is shouldering the burden like a true hero.


So, the teachers have scattered quicker and further than a bag of Maltesers splitting on hitting the floor in Tescos and preliminary investigations suggest that they too have fled to sunnier climes.

So, the extremely quiet life of the last few weeks have been shattered and life has become a lot more exciting again.

So, what are the tell-tale signs of the return of the gruesome twosome?

  1. A gruesome twosome hand grenade has gone off – mainly in the lounge but all rooms have been affected to some degree
  2. Privacy has been curtailed as my tooth brushing this morning was interrupted by the unceremonious entry of a small man to use the lav – he refused to use the other one upstairs as his sister ‘had used it’
  3. The fridge looks like it has been raided by the England rugby team
  4. There is the annual evening search for the TV remote that is invariably hidden under some scattered child debris
  5. The sound of canned laughter and cheesy kids TV is echoing through the house – so bad that himself and I have fled from the lounge
  6. Privacy was further curtailed five minutes after the disturbed tooth-brushing experience as I was in the shower and unable to argue, when the small man returned once more to the bathroom for a slightly more ‘serious’ visit – delightful!
  7. Even if we were brave enough to venture into the lounge, then any sitting space would need to be cleared of ever growing legs and feet which are strewn across the furniture and take up a disconcertingly big volume – which of course would be accompanied by grumbling, grunting and if we are lucky a verbalised sentence of complaint.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been looking forward to the return of the gruesome twosome and am loving having them here. The side-effects of having them here are seriously out-weighed by the fact that they are actually in residence.


So, what else has been happening.

Well. I am delighted to say that EIOT Towers is in fine form and settling well.

The ongoing issue with BT is, well, ongoing. Although the slightest, smallest ever flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, glimmer of hope, a suggestion of progress and trace of positivity was thrown my way during my whistle-stop trip to the UK.


Now I do not want to get too excited, but……I was due to have an update from the illustrious BT on Friday and needless to say by 1500 nothing had been heard – absolutely diddly squat. Well, I wasn’t going to let them get away with that, so a call to one of my three ‘Case Officers’, (yes I am only meant to have one so that I always speak to the same person, but as on various scheduled update days they are either on their days off or out of the office, I seem to now have three), and a request for them to call me back – why should I waste my mobile bill on BT??? – they called me back.

So, in the conversation Case Officer 1 informed me that they are hoping to connect the phone on the 29th. No guarantees and also if a higher priority case comes in we will be put back.


So, that put me in my place, obviously not high priority. Then Case Officer 1 threw into the conversation that we are now a high priority – just clearly not a very high priority.

I wonder what terms of reference BT use for the definition of a ‘high priority’ and a ‘very high priority’……might have to investigate that.

So, as long as nothing of a higher priority comes in to the hands of BT before the 29th, then hopefully we may, at a push, might, possibly have a phone line…

Not that we will know about it mind you, Case Officer 1 is out of the office till 31st and has promised to update me then. I did ask why Case Officer 2 or 3 could not step into the breach, but this was greeted with a stoney silence.

So, potential progress with BT.

Now onto the water……

Well, two steps forwards and a stagger backwards.


I arrived back at EIOT Towers full of optimism that we would have water, mainly because:

  1. I knew it had been persisting it down in deepest Cumbria in my absence and so water should be plentiful
  2. All being well our local water expert had paid a visit with his compressor that can ‘raise water as high as the fell’, and cleared any blockage between the spring and the holding tank
  3. As there would have been reduced water usage while I was away then the tank would have had time to fill

So, I arrived back, donned my waders and wellies and made my way ‘down t’field’.

I decided to check the spring first and as I approached I was more than excited to hear the sound of gushing water. Oooohhhh exciting….

Then I took the bricks off the wooden Heath Robinson type cover, lifted the lid and found……….no water flowing into the trough, but still the sound of gushing water in the general vicinity.

Slightly disheartened I made my way to the holding tank, ever the optimist I was convinced that it would be full.

Wrong! It was emptier than it had been when I left….

Devastation, absolute devastation – I could have cried, in fact I think a tear or two may have flowed down my cheek, or maybe that was just the mud that by now was covering me from tracking ‘down t’field’.


So, off I went to see the local water expert who by complete chance was in his farmyard.

Now it turns out that our local water expert had done his back in and his painful shuffle and strained face really suggested quite a lot of pain. So, he and his compressor had not made it as far as EIOT Towers.

Having seen my look of desperation our local water expert said he would enlist the help of his son and they would be up to Chez EIOT with compressor in the morning.

So, I was delighted to spot a quad bike, compressor, two men, (one stooping in obvious pain), up to their eyes in mud deep in the field.

Once again I donned my wellies and waders and went to join them.


They too had heard the sound of gushing water at the spring but had been perplexed by the lack of water flowing into the trough, so Dad water expert had set son water expert to work with a big spade.

Now I have add that these guys are hardy fell men and not a lot fazes them. So within what seemed like the blink of an eye the ground and rock around the spring had been cleared. Tree roots had over many, many years grown and blocked the pipe and so the water was being diverted to anywhere other than our trough.

Anyway, tree roots removed, crystal clear water suddenly flowed into the trough – at quite some rate.

Sheer elation did not come close….

Sainsburys orders do this to an expat......

Next to the holding tank, where gorgeous crystal clear water flowed with glorious speed.

If you can imagine three adults stood, (well, one stooped), around an open man hole cover in the middle of a remote field, looking down with glee at crystal clear water flowing into a huge tank then you will know that we were all really rather happy.

Happiness knew no bounds……

While I had the two local water experts in my grip gazing down into our holding tank, I knew now was the time to ask them about the various pipes and acutriments which were protruding or hanging at various angles inside the tank.

It became apparent that many modifications had been made to the tank over many years and that a lot of the acutriments were redundant.

The extent of the modifications was brought home to me when I asked about the ballcock that was hanging on near the opening and had clearly not been touched by water for quite some considerable time.

As one of the working group was stooped but unable to bend any further he couldn’t see the ballcock and so did not know what we were talking about.

The description from the younger water expert summed it up beautifully, ‘it’s hanging here, just close to the cover – hanging from an old number plate……’

(I hasten to add that I have translated that statement from broad, deepest Cumbrian/Yorkshire as I didn’t know how to write it).

Now that just sums up our entire life in Cumbria thus far, cobbled together with redundant acutriments – held together by an old number plate.

Anyway, after a few minutes of standing watching water flowing into the tank, we came to our senses and tidied up. I was briefed to let the tank fill before getting carried away with the washing machine, the compressor was strapped onto shopping basket, the older water expect shuffled onto the quad bike and the younger expert perched on a wheel arch.


Off they went and I skipped with joy through the mud back to the house.

My buoyant mood saw me fly through the rest of the day.

Next day I skipped again down to the spring to be greeted by the sight of beautiful water flowing freely into the trough and clearly running unhindered down the pipe.

I skipped back down to the holding tank and lifted the manhole cover, not expecting for a fraction of a second that there would be a problem.

But there was. Yes, the water was flowing in at a good rate, but the depth of water in the tank was exactly the same as when we had left it the day before…

Now, I am no physicist but even I know that if you add a liquid to a metal box the depth of the liquid has to increase – unless there is a hole.

So, after a consistent flow of water for 24hrs with no increased depth could only mean one thing – we have a leak!

Yeap, an emergency trip to see the stooping water expert and he concurred – ‘you’ve got a leak’


So, we are now looking at options for not having a leak. Whatever happens I think my extended visit to EIOT Towers in a few weeks may well involve digging out a water tank……

So, we are finally all back in the land of sand. Himself’s peace and quiet in his temporary bachelor pad is over and we have taken over.

Right, off to try to clear some sofa space….


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