Will’s World: Welsh leaks, whingeing and whoppers

“We’re sorry for the delay, but we are experiencing higher than usual call volumes,” the robotic voice said to me down the line.

I looked at my watch for the umpteenth time that hour, thinking of the many more important things I should be doing, and questioning every facet of modern life and my very existence within it.

Has there ever, in the course of human history, been a bigger lie than the one told in those 14 words?

See also: Water company schemes to consider for your farming business

About the author

Will Evans
Farmers Weekly Opinion writer
Will Evans farms beef cattle and arable crops across 200ha near Wrexham in North Wales in partnership with his wife and parents.
Read more articles by Will Evans

I suppose there were the tobacco companies that claimed for decades smoking was good for you, and more recently we had the Brexit gang and their big red bus.

But if we put aside those few very obvious exceptions, I think it conclusively takes the prize.

The thing is, I’m normally quite mild-mannered.

It takes a lot to make me angry, but if there’s one thing that’s going to turn me from Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk, it’s being on hold to a utility company and hearing that blatant falsehood.

I’d honestly prefer it if they just told the truth:

“We’re not sorry for the delay at all. We’re not going to pay more staff to take your calls, we’re going to charge you ever more for your water, we’re going to keep on dumping sewage in the rivers and oceans, and if you don’t like it you can kiss our arses. Bwahahaha”.

Hold the line

Let me rewind to the beginning of our tale of woe. I’d noticed that the water pressure in the house wasn’t particularly great.

Nothing new there, but it had got steadily worse to the point that family members were whingeing, and I couldn’t put it off any longer – I’d have to make a call.

After going through approximately 12 different options before being put on hold for 50 minutes, I gave up and instead tried their text message service, which promised a “speedy response”.

I meticulously typed out the message detailing the problem, including the fact that the water troughs on the farm were filling slowly, and it was becoming an “animal welfare issue”.

This would surely initiate a response, and I figured that in a matter of minutes Swat teams of crack water engineers would come screeching into the yard. Perhaps there’d even be a helicopter too.

Sadly not. But I did get a phone call from a nice man who promised he’d send someone out to investigate, so that was progress at least.

The burst of times

The next day, a van pulled up and the driver informed me they were closing our lane so they could mend a burst pipe.

“Fine mate, no problem, and thanks for coming so quickly,” I replied. He looked slightly quizzically at me before giving a thumbs up and heading off up the road.

To give them their due, the team worked through the night. By the next morning the leak was fixed and our pressure was back to normal. They’d come back to fill in the hole after the weekend, they said.

Grand, I thought. All sorted.

Then on Monday, when they came back to finish the job as promised, the digger driver caught the pipe and made it worse than it was to start with.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back again tomorrow to fix it,” they said, as water cascaded down the lane.

As I walked wearily away, my phone rang. “Hello Mr Evans, you reported a water leak to us last week and I’ve been asked to look into it,” a cheery voice said.

I won’t tell you how I replied.