Eau? No! Part One
Water is a precious commodity , especially when one's only supply comes from the surrounding hills..
Rainfall...and why we can't get enough of it.
This is the story about our move to France , and how rainfall became something of an obsession.
This is a long story. But let me begin by explaining why , even today, rainfall is so important to us in our forest home. As I look out of the window towards the western hills of 'The Espinouse' the sky is an azure blue , dappled with fluffy white clouds. The weather forecast promises a day of sun and cloud, with temperatures of around 13 degrees centigrade. This is pretty normal for this time of year. The longer fifteen day forecast promises similar, but windy days ahead with one day of rain next week. How welcome that will be. But we will not hold our breath. Since December we have been promised strings of rainy days which all vanished before the day arrived. We have watched in dismay as our source (or spring) slowly diminished, then dried up completely. In normal times it constantly replenishes our vast underground water storage tank. Even last summer, while much of France was suffering from drought restrictions, our tank overflowed. But this winter is different and we definitely do need rain.
Water has mysterious ways. I will never ever completely understand it. Today rivers gush merrily along in one part of our village, whilst La Primelle, the local stream that runs at the foot of our forest track alongside the 'maison forestière,' is gradually drying up. Just like our source.
What can we do?
At the moment our storage tank is close to full. But if rain doesn't come soon, we shall start to exercise caution in our household use of water, limiting the length of showers, and saving water that might normally be wasted. These worries are not uncommon, and by spring we usually see enough rain to start the source flowing once more. But we know only too well that on one occasion it was very different, and that it could happen again. It all began in early 2001, shortly after we moved in. When we examined the source we discovered it was dry. What's more there was little prospect of rain.
"Don't worry," our vendor reassured us when we queried the situation. The spring rains will come for sure, and the source will flow again. "Anyway, you do have another solution." But the rain didn't fall, and the source remained dry. As for the other solution, that was precarious to say the least. It seemed to us that we had bought a home without a reliable supply of water. Look out for part two of this story in which I will reveal what happened next.