Good morning dear reader and welcome to a soggy Sunday morning at Comb Towers. Lots of lovely rain through the night and my. my, how the summer is speeding by. We are almost at the end of our dog sitting stint and I will miss him when he goes home. Fortunately, the weather this week has been a bit cooler for him and we have enjoyed rambling about far and wide. I wonder if he will miss us when he goes home? Probably not, he will be back in the bosom of his own family again.
During the recent very hot and dry weather, the water in our pond evaporated quite a bit and the level dropped by a good six inches. Although our pond is three to four feet deep, we were getting concerned for the welfare of our aquatic life and all the pond plants. Quite a lot of these sit in the shallows and the water was shrinking away by the day. Also, although we have lots of stones around the edges of the pond, protruding from the water so that the birds can stand on them and get a drink - even they were finding it difficult to bend so far down to drink.
Something had to be done. Unfortunately the dry spell had gone on for so many weeks, that we had used up every drop of rain water in our butts and tanks. A pond refill with water from the mains was the only resort left to us.
Now, dear reader, when we first built the pond and filled it with the mains water, our water company were quite happy for us to do that and not charge us the sewerage charges on the volume of water used to fill the pond - we just had to let them know the dates we filled the pond up. Wonderful and soooo straightforward. Three years on and we have always managed to keep the pond topped up with the stored rainwater from our tanks. But, this year we are at the mercy of the water company again ... dear reader, who needs to write fiction ...
I telephoned the water company and spoke to a nice young lady and put the scenario to her, about topping the pond up and not being charged sewerage charges on the water. She hadn't heard of this being done before and went away to consult with colleagues. Back on the line some ten minutes later, she said yes, in principle, that would be alright, but we would have to take meter readings before and after filling the pond up. 'That's all very well,' says I, 'but we don't know where the meter is.' She consulted her computer screen and told me it was just outside our garden wall on the grass verge.
Feeling a very happy bunny and armed with this information, Spouse and I sashayed outside to locate the meter. There was a slight sunken area on the grass verge just outside the gates. Spouse took the top of the turf off, only to find nothing there. Mmm, not a great result. The rest of the grass verge was uniformly flat and short of digging up the whole thing, we were no further on. No meter readings meant no pond refill.
Fortuitously for us, we received a letter from Faisal, Customer Relationship Manager at the water company. He confirmed we could fill our pond without sewerage charges, just read the meter before and after. If we can't actually read the meter, he would arrange for a reading to be taken for us.
So, I emailed Faisal at the water company, thanking him for his assistance but pointing out that we could not read the meter as we could not locate it. Could he enlighten us in any more detail, as to its whereabouts.
Then Bethany emailed, (another Customer Relationship Manager), advising us exactly where the meter was, BUT contradicting Faisal's instructions to read the meter!! No, no, Mrs Comb do not read your meter, she wrote sternly. Health and Safety! What!!! Spouse was not impressed. What were the health and safety issues of lifting a small manhole cover and reading a meter?
I emailed Bethany to tell her that her colleague, Faisal, had told me to read the meter and if I can't read the meter how can I fill our pond as agreed?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Spouse had collared a passing water company man-in-a-van and asked him about locating our meter. The water company man was most obliging and produced his meter detector and hey presto - meter uncovered under the turf! Not only that, he took a reading on his phone and showed it to us and then went on his merry way.
I emailed Bethany again to say we have located the meter courtesy of a water board employee and please could we now take readings? Faisal says yes - you say no. Which is it to be?
In the meantime, whilst waiting for her considered reply, the rains finally came and refilled our butts and tanks. Happy days for us and the pond. Spouse refilled the pond from the tanks and all was well. I emailed Bethany with this information, but wondered if this situation arises next year, what will the meter reading advice be...?
Lisa, yet another Customer Relationship Manager from the water company telephoned me, (how many have they got?) and I got a definitive answer. Yes, we can read the meters before and after a pond top up and if we can't manage it, they would send someone out to help us. She says she'll confirm in an email - I look forward to it! The water company must operate on the same principle as workers digging a hole - there are always three of them. And so it was with my little query - Faisal, Bethany and Lisa. Something tells me if I have to revisit this scenario again next year, we may all be meeting up again!
Goodbye for now, dear reader and I hope you have a good week. We are in the dog days of August and have to make the most of them. And speaking of dogs and being dog free, I think there will be a few outings on the horizon for us. I will have to dust down my glad rags.