Archive Article: 1998/02/20

20 February 1998

Im in the kitchen and wondering where to go and what to do first. Its 10pm, Ive been home from a night class for a little over an hour, had some tea (cooked by a considerate hubby) and we have friends calling in for breakfast in the morning. They are coming off the night boat on their way south.

Shall I start in the kitchen? Its got to be done as thats the one place everyone sees. Shall I shift all my teaching paraphernalia off the dining table into my "office" to sit with the piles of stuff still waiting to be put away? Had I better do the lounge, the door is invariably left open for anyone to peer in on their way up to the bathroom? Trixie has been in and stolen some walnuts out of the basket, cracked them on the carpet, eaten the nuts and of course, not tidied up after herself; the fire is out and theres ash on the floor.

I must do the bathroom. The last person in there was Beth on Monday before going to school. Ive no idea what it is like. Has she left her washing on the floor? The plug in the sink? I know she hasnt left water in the bath because we didnt have any water on Sunday night.

It has been so cold. Tim, Beth and I were away at the weekend, leaving Jacques the cowman and Daniel our ex-cowman, who offered to come in and help out, to cope with temperatures down to -10C.

Water in the calf house froze, the milking parlour needed gentle encouragement (and warmth) to get going, and the animals had to be watered by bringing water down from the chateau in a bowser, because we are still desperately short of water (and the pipes were freezing). Consequently, when we arrive home there was no quick clothes washing for Beths week away at school, and no showers as the pumps had been switched off allowing the well to be replenished by the trickle of spring water.

We are not on the mains water supply here and rely on natural springs which, until recently, have not been a problem, but several years of drought have left the level dangerously low. We have asked for a new bore-hole to be made as we know there are other sources nearby, but were still waiting.

Three days into a really cold spell and the water is flowing more freely. Curiouser and curiouser! (A small tribute to Lewis Carroll, celebrating the centenary of his death in Jan 1898. I only know this as Cherry is studying him this year at university. Im hoping this will give me a certain air of intelligence, I gather by your smile that Im mistaken!)

Would it be tempting fate too much if I took advantage of the situation and put a wash on, or will I drain off resources leaving nothing to clean the bulk tank out with after the tanker has been?

I can see that all this pontification is getting me absolutely nowhere. Time is getting on and theres still plenty to do. However, a sympathetic husband has done the washing up which is a good start.

Chrissie tackles chores: Water is scarce and visitors are due.

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