There have been a couple of nocturnal surprises this week.
The whistling duck colony which has adopted our metal roof as a night time roost is not one of them…
They arrived some while ago, attracted by the dubious delights of the lagoon at the pig farm across the river and took up residence on the roof rather like the Hobbits entering the house of Beorn
First one pair, then another, until the whole colony was installed.
The main problem was that they seemed to be late night revelers, returning from their lucubrations in the early hours and landing on the roof with a boom that reverberated through the house, followed by dancing Strip the Willow in hobnail boots prior to finally settling down.
Oddly enough, none of this activity interests the dogs. Guaranteed to give tongue at porcupines, nocturnal prowlers and cars which stop on the top road they completely ignore the bangs and crashes overhead. Perhaps, typical dog, they think that as they cannot catch them it is best to ignore their existence…
We have grown accustomed to it now, so that their activities no longer count as a surprise. Shock and awe, perhaps, but surprise…no.
Leo wakes in the early hours. Unable to sleep he gets dressed and we sally forth for a cup of tea…which is where we came across this week’s first surprise.
Danilo is a dog magnet….there must be at least twelve up in his family compound…..and two of them like to come to work with him. The old dog, Calamardo, has decided that since Danilo comes every day except Sunday he will rest his paws by living with the sheep full time, emerging for his morning biscuits and his evening meal.
Ancient he might be, semi blind and half deaf, but he has a wonderful sense of smell – and of direction. The young man who tried to extract money from us for his cow saw fit to enter the byre one evening last week and came out faster than he went in, emerging with a severe bite on his hand. For some reason he did not come up to the house to complain…
The other come-to-work dog is Donna.
She had been abandoned and was taken on by Danilo…knowing Donna I doubt he had much choice as she knows a mug when she sees one and has no intention of being abandoned again.
Danilo’s wife does not like dogs in the house so when Danilo goes off in the evenings Donna comes here to wait for him. If it is late, she settles herself on the porch – commandeering a cardboard box as sleeping quarters. If early enough for the front door to be open she toddles into the kitchen, eats any available leftovers and settles herself down for the night. We have learned from experience to leave a box out for her…after having potatoes scattered all over the floor when she took a fancy to the box in which we were keeping them.
This week we emerged from the bedroom in the early hours, switched on the light, patted the dogs and headed for the stove to make the tea….to be greeted by the sight of a beaming Donna lying on her version of a water bed.
Our milk comes in plastic sachets of 900 centlitres – this is the land of the plastic bag – which we buy in boxes of twelve. Her ladyship, obviously preferring the milk box to the one left out for her, had discovered something even better…the sachets themselves, upon which she was reclining blissfully.
Luckily she had broken none of them so it was just a job of picking them up and putting them out of her reach. At that hour of the morning I had no enthusiasm for clearing up a canine Cleopatra’s bath.
Had I but known it that would have been child’s play compared with what awaited me later in the week.
Three thirty a. m. Leo is awake and calls me to help him get dressed.
I sit up, put my feet to the ground expecting to meet my slippers but instead find water. A squawk from the other side of the bed indicates that Leo has had the same experience.
Bedside light on reveals the bedroom awash.
Shuffling through it to avoid making waves I lift boxes…sodden at the base…into the bath for future investigation….and no, the water is not coming from the bathroom.
Open door to the house to find the dogs marooned on the sofa and the floor likewise awash….luckily no more boxes to be affected.
Water, water everywhere….but, as proved when trying to fill the kettle, not a drop to drink. The tank has run dry.
A moment’s thought allows me to thank my lucky stars that I had not topped up the five hundred litre tank the night before, then sploshing about to turn off all the stopcocks except that to the kitchen taps and opening the front door which has the effect of pulling some of the water out into the porch and onto the garden.
Off to the pump control to pull some water into the tank…sufficient for immediate needs – tea. The loos had one flush left in each, so no need to worry about that for a while.
Back to make tea, and organise Leo as far as the kitchen where he could drink it in peace while waiting for his blood pressure to settle.
Mobilise mopping up gear…but where to start? It is a tribute to Danilo’s building skills that the floor is level, so the water had not collected into a sump anywhere, though a sump would have been easier to deal with.
Sweep water through front door…..the slight slope on the porch sending it out into the garden.
Lay the dog towels down and make the rounds squeezing them into buckets. Empty buckets.
Sweep water out through front door.
Squeeze out towels into buckets. Empty buckets.
Drink tea and curse.
Dogs descend to offer sympathy and wet paws.
Start the sweep and squeeze routine again….drink tea and curse…continue ad infinitum ad nauseam.
The sun rises behind San Antonio Arriba and the mopping and slopping continues until areas round likely leak points are cleared of standing water and can be dried off so that Leo can see if he can find the origin of the Noah’s Fludde that has engulfed us.
First time lucky….the guest loo is the guilty party, though neither of us can see exactly how it has wreaked its havoc, so it will wait until Danilo’s arrival – as long as we remember to turn off the stop cock…which we go back to do…
The floors are remarkably clean…a few long lost items have floated out from under Leo’s desk…all is now well with the world.
The world might be fine, but I am out on my feet. Ideally I would return to bed and pull the bedclothes over my head but no such luck…there is just time to cook breakfast before the arrival of Danilo and the beginning of the routines of the day.
It is, as always, a great life if you don’t weaken!