There are times living here in rural Mallorca that I am reminded of an ’80s comedy movie called ‘The Money Pit’, starring a youthful-looking Tom Hanks and Shelley Long (best known as cocktail waitress Diane in the TV comedy ‘Cheers’) as a couple who, for various reasons, end up buying an old house in need of renovation. Only the work is never finished, as the place gradually falls apart around them.
Now, I wouldn’t want you to think that our finca is like that, but there have been a number of times when it has seemed that as one job finishes, another presents itself.
The turn of the cisterna
We’ve recently re-roofed the place; replaced the kitchen sink tap (for the second time), and done some necessary work on the gates to our drive. Are we due a little break from repairs and expenditure? No. Now, it seems, our cisterna (water storage tank) needs a little attention. One of what The Boss calls his ‘Monday checks’ is to monitor the level of water in the cisterna (so that we know when to order a delivery from Jaume, the water man). And he discovered that the metal lid – now very old and slowly degrading – had fallen into the water inside, leaving our supply open to the elements. Any passing pigeon or seagull, with a sense of devilment – and, it must be said, quite a good aim – could have pooped into our water supply.
Despite the fact that the water would be very cold, The Boss had to do a little angling to retrieve the lid, which will soon have to be replaced with a new one. But a routine inspection of the tank also revealed a small leak – probably caused by the metal lid spiking the membrane that lines the old concrete cisterna; the membrane that we had installed just a few years ago, after the ageing concrete tank developed a nasty leak.
Back then, we had called in the builders, who gave us a couple of options: have a new cisterna built (expensive), or have a lining put in (not so expensive). We opted for the latter and arranged the date for the work to be done, hoping that we’d worked out accurately when the water supply would be almost exhausted.
The day before the builders were due, we were alarmed to find that we still had quite a lot of water left. Because we would be unable to use the cisterna for 24 hours after the lining was put in, we’d filled the bath and various receptacles in the house with water, for loo flushing and general use. We then set about giving our garden the best watering of its life, until all that was left was a small puddle in the bottom of the cisterna. Just as we’d finished, we received a phone call from the builders. They were very sorry, but they were unable to come out to do the work the next day . . .
Thank you to Anders, from Sweden, who recently added a useful comment on my earlier posting about water cisternas, which you can read here: http://livinginruralmallorca.com/2012/08/13/5-things-to-know-when-buying-a-rural-property-in-mallorca-part-1/