Friday, September 29, 2006

Problems With Our Water Works

The story of my flood several days ago continues.

We have had several days of workmen on the roof. The temperature has been steadily climbing again after an almost bearable 32 C four days ago and today hit 40 C again - unfair really in late September. This makes Ramadan hard and my guards in their heavy suits seem to wilt after midday.

I have three fans out on my balcony and I am not brave enough to use them. There is a beautiful bronze pigeon nesting on the top of one - right where she would be swept off, nest and all if I turned it on. Worse - I have three remotes and they are fan-specific. I pressed the button on one and pointed it at one fan, and a different fan went on - not, thank goodness, the one with the nest.

On the roof you could add a good five degrees to that temperature at ground level. It doesn't help that it is a concrete expanse with zero shade for most of the day.
For days the men have been working in extreme difficulty on the split pipe which is most awkwardly placed about half a metre over and almost a metre down from the edge of the low wall around the roof. This is a very sheer wall about three and a half stories high. Worse - our ceilings are incredibly high and while it makes the rooms cool and very beautiful it makes hanging over the edge of the roof likely to be lethal.

The pipe has been resisting all help offered. They have managed to replace a section - and what they did with cutting gear and two men hanging onto another's legs you do not want to know. It split again. Yesterday they seemed to be coming and going all day and it was truly hot.

At five I saw them leave, and waved them off, only to realise forty minutes later that I could still hear hammering on the roof. It was almost Iftar and I had already taken out the meal we give our guard at this time. I just could not believe they were still there at Iftar.

I pulled out a tray and realised that I was not not at all confident carrying a tray with five glasses and a lot of juice boxes up three flights of steep stairs. I shoved them into big plastic bags and rushed up, arriving just as the call to prayer started.

The poor men did not even have water. The water had been off all day while they struggled with the pipes.

Our lovely office handiman who supervises all workers in the house took the stairs two at a time down for water and brought up bottles for one for each man. I watched in amazement as they just upended the lot straight down their throats. I left them eating dates - very much part of the ritual, though better if they have been soaked in milk.

They finished at about 7.00 and left.

Today the pipe is leaking again.


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