The Joys of Free Flowing Running Water

I’m very fortunate in that I have two water supplies. One is via a borehole and the other is a mains supply. I think I’m lucky because in some parts of the world, people have to travel a considerable distance with buckets to collect water of so-so quality. Considering myself fortunate in this respect is a recent thought, because until lately, I’ve had the convenience of full piped supply. Right now, for me, it’s a different story.

There is one thing many people in the western world, seldom appreciate, and that’s being able to visit the lavatory and flush the loo. That’s not the case for me now as I’ve got to walk down the driveway to flush the loo. We’ll call it, an inconvenience and back to basics. 

For the most, I use the borehole supply for everything apart from drinking water. This is great because it’s a considerable saving on the cost of company water. A borehole pump requires a pressure tank that fills with water, and when full and at a preset pressure, switches off the pump. This is the case as should a pressure tank not be incorporated, the pump would be cycling far too frequently and result in self destruction or mechanical suicide.

The Old Leaky Cylinder

Six or so weeks ago I discovered a water leak on the pressurised cylinder. This is not a huge problem in itself as replacement is relatively easy, but at the same time, costly in parts. I’m a DIY guy so went to my local supplier to enquire about the cost of a replacement. The price was 150 euros for a steel unit and this would require ordering. These cylinders are also available in stainless steel and as such, not prone to rusting. I also asked about the availability of a stainless steel unit, this would have been in the region of 380 euros but entailed a long wait to supply, and possibly, into the new year. Following, I undertook a search on the web to see if the prices were about correct and also, if I could find a stainless steel unit within a reasonable time.

Internet searches in Portugal are a little difficult for those that don’t speak the language as first, you need to know the Portuguese name of an item. I was not aware of this in either Portuguese or English so first sourced the item via an image search in English. I discovered the correct English name and UK price. The cost was £82 for the plain steel unit, so somewhat cheaper there than in Portugal. It appears not possible to obtain via the UK due to size and if otherwise, huge delivery charges.

Having the correct product name, I translated this to Portuguese and found many available, unfortunately in Brazil. Not much use to me even if in the Portuguese language. After a great deal of time, I was unable to find a stainless steel unit in Portugal but sourced both steel and stainless steel in Germany. Ha, ha, in Germany, the cheaper unit is a third cheaper and the better stainless model only 30 euros more than the cheaper plain steel here in Portugal.

There was a 15 euro delivery charge and on arrival, a small dent was applied for free during transit. Ordering from Germany saved about 200 euros and I received delivery in eight days. Some will say, buy in Portugal and help the economy. What would you do?

Replacement Stainless Steel Tank

Having received the replacement, I was in a position to removed the old leaky one. To do the complete job property involved having to remove render around a pipe and tap. Here I discovered was a mixture of plastic, brass and a very corroded steel pipe and yet another area of leaks. I also discovered an electric cable along side the dripping water pipes. This in itself, I was not overly worried about, but would require tools I don’t have to thread pipes. Again, not a problems as all I needed to do was cap off the plastic pipe leading to the old cylinder and depend on the mains supply for a period and also, find a supplier of the required tools. What I found almost amusing, was the Portuguese standard of workmanship and desire to electrocute themselves with shoddy methods and lack of forethought. The electric cable is housed in a dilapidated and patched hosepipe.   

Discovering More Leaks & Sick Electric Cable

As it was neither here nor there which water supply I used, ultimately meant, there was no hurry with the jobs required and I could do necessary works in the living room in the mean time. The pressure cylinder is located beneath an exterior stairway and the space was somewhat crappy with a very uneven floor and walls a conscious bricklayer would laugh at. I’m happy with general do-it-yourself so decided to create a nice even tiled floor, rendered interior walls, incorporate a marble doorway frame, replace all the pipes and create a space where gas bottles could be stored also. Obviously, such works take time and the rains had came so not every day, was it possible to work. By the thirteenth of December, about five weeks had passed since the removal of the old cylinder.

The Runaway Meter

On December the thirteenth I noticed my neighbour walking past the front of my property. He stopped and appeared to be looking at something low to the ground. I was a little mystified over his curiosity but soon discovered his interest. He returned past and then I heard him call my name. On speaking with him, I discover that the water meter reader, who reads meters at about this time, has informed him there must be a problem with my water supply as so much water had been consumed. My neighbour had inspected my meter to see how fast is was registering and a further inspection between us, revealed that even with all faucets closed, water flow was registering. Following this discovery, at all times the mains water tap has been closed unless flow is required. This shall remain the case until I discover where the obvious underground leak is, Unfortunately, I suspect this will result in the driveway being opened up along all pipelines. The route of such I don’t know. I’m lucky to have water, but have discovered that when it’s not there at the tap end on demand, it’s a little disappointing.

Does Any of this Bother Me? No Way!

Someone asked me the other day if the problems ever get to me. My reply was “No, not really. They are ultimately only little issues”. Sometimes I’ll curse and get a little mad, but there is a far greater amount of time when everything is just so perfect.

Generally, problems and inconvenience are short lived and what can really cause distress is when one allows the not so ideal days, to torment them and fester within. I’ve been through that in the past, and it’s a stressful situation and does your health no good what-so-ever. I don’t live for the day, but I do try to find some good in each and every day, even if it’s rectifying something that was not so good as in the problems mentioned above. To me, if I have a dozen problems, I’ll enjoy three times that in feelings of satisfaction as and when each is corrected. I’ve lived in Portugal some time now, and when I walk across my garden and see the above, I receive such a thrill that my dream of Portugal came true and all the little annoyances seem to dissolve into trivial little issue of day to day life.

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