Friday, 28 January 2011

Thursday 27 January - playing with butts

Today was dominated by a water butt.  There is a drain pipe coming down the side of the house that goes to nowhere and, with the thawing of the snow on the roof, has become a gushing torrent.  There is no drain below it so (a) the water is constantly wetting the corner of the house (not good), and (b) this wonderful, natural resource that will be so scarce in just a few months, is just running away (equally not good).  But do you think it would be easy to find a water butt?  Of course not.

We went to a garden centre (of sorts), and we went to the agricultural store.  No water butts, but we did get a copious supply of rat poison, a couple of rat boxes, and directions to a water butt shop.  An hour later, we were coming out of said water butt store having just had a narrow escape of parting with over €100 for a tank to beat all tanks.  Just what you need, said the man.  Still feeling as guests in our host country and not wanting to offend, we almost took it.  Thankfully, sanity and a "couldn't care less about causing offence if we're being duped" attitude took over at the till and we thought better of it.  Sorry Mister, we know you've been really helpful but all we need is a way of capturing the rain.

So off we went again, this time with KP having put his Heath Robinson hat on and having built up a desire to play with his butt all afternoon.  A picture was forming in his head of utilising one of the old plastic barrels that we have knocking around in the barns and being creative with an even older, but distinctly more attractive, wooden water barrel.  This time we went off in search of a tap and a few washers, which proved far easier.  Success was had.

The rest of the afternoon was spent once more working outside in glorious sunshine (with a nagging, thawing, dripping, roof).  Me carrying on with my new log store and KP spreading himself out on the terrace with tools and barrels everywhere.  A lack of suitable tools meant holes for the tap needed to be cut in wooden and plastic barrels with my very best cheese knife (bought as part of a set at the €1 store in Pescara market), so much cussing and cursing (and some admirable creativity) punctuated the otherwise peaceful afternoon.

Eventually, just before that critical time of sundown when we need to down tools, light fires and retreat inside (leaving us feeling as though we're on the set of HG Wells' Time Machine needing to get to safety before the Morlocks come), we were the very proud owners of a fully functional water butt.  It's just beautiful.  A very neatly disguised old plastic barrel, fitting snuggly within the rather lovely wooden one.  And all for the price of a tap (and a few grazed knuckles).  It even had an overflow pipe at the top!

With our nice, neat log store at one end of the house and the water barrel at the other, we were very happy indeed.  Time now to retreat inside, get the fires going, get supper on and then wander down, and then up, the hill into Serramonacesca to pick up a few essentials from the mad lady at the corner store and have our usual swift drink at the bar with our new friends, the locals.

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