Thursday, July 02, 2009


It just had to happen in the July heat, didn't it? Yesterday afternoon the condominio's water supply ran out yet again, and when I phoned our water lorry driver [a gruff but kindly man] he said that the earliest time he could deliver would be this morning, provided I [or someone else in the apartment block] had already phoned the water office to order the refill. I had made the call about three weeks ago and had been told that the service was sospeso; this often happens either because the comune hasn't got enough money to pay the drivers or because there is a water shortage, so I prepared myself to shell out another 35 € for a private delivery. [Last time some of my fellow-tenants did contribute but I don't always see them to ask and I hate doing so, anyway.]

Not being an early morning person, I was somewhat grumpy when my doorbell rang at 07.30 but better early then never! I hastily dressed and Simi and I went down to sign the delivery note. "Non ho la bolletta!" ["I haven't got the note!] cried the driver [I think he gets into trouble if he delivers without it] and I again assured him that the call had been made. "I'll bring it later" he said finally. I thanked him effusively for the delivery - he always melts when I do this - and came back upstairs to do all the morning tasks that require water [and that's most of them - have you ever thought about this? I could now tell you exactly how much water each of these uses!]

Later in the morning I was sitting here chatting to Antonio the poet when all of a sudden there was a tremendous commotion in the street - cars beeping [and they don't go in for short beeps in Italy], people shouting and the usual gathering of onlookers adding to the noise with their questions and comments. Of course, we all went out on our balconies to watch the dramatics and Simi decided to join in with a few barks. This is a side street but a busy one because it contains the post office, there are no parking spaces for the poor folk who have to wait for hours in there and tempers get frayed at the best of times. And there, directly below us, in the middle of the street, was the enormous water lorry, but with no sign of the driver, and six or seven cars trying to get past it. As there was nothing Antonio or I could do, we dutifully threw up our hands, said, "Pazienza" and continued eating the Welsh cakes I'd made.

About 20 minutes later, as I reached the square on my way to the shops, the first person I bumped into was the water lorry driver, carrying a whole load of bollette to be signed. "The office hadn't done them so I wrote them out myself", he explained and asked me if I'd sign ours right there, which I did. I couldn't help smiling as I thought of the brouhaha awaiting him up the road but decided it was best not to mention it. "Today's the last day of the service", he informed me: "It's sospeso again from tomorrow."

Local colour aside, our water situation here is very serious indeed and according to this article some parts of Modica are going to have water for only 5 - 6 hours a day during the summer or even on alternate days! There are leaks in the overworked conduit, three of the comune's official plumbers have been transferred to other departments and people wanting to move house or open new businesses cannot do so because their premises are not yet connected to the water supply. Add to all this the extra demand on the system that summer brings and you don't need to be a water engineer to see that we are up the [dry] creek without a paddle. Other comuni in Sicily are likely to be even worse off this summer.

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Unknown said...

Can you not bribe the Mafia to get the water working? Oops, I forgot what happened when they took over trash collections.

OK, isn't Sicily surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea? Isn't that made up of water?

BTW, earlier today I found some letters that my father wrote from Sicily back in 1943. Of course, he had no time to appreciate the sites and because of Army censorship I have no idea where is Sicily he was when he wrote the letters.

Alex the Blogging Kat said...

Hi, Simi! U knowz dat us kitty katz dunt likez wasserz, dunt u? But I be sadz if we dunt hab no wasser. OK?

Mary said...

Water is such a precious resourse. We know that in Australia, although I have to say, the situation you describe is unheard of here in Sydney. It does actually rain torrents here, on a regular basis, but unfortunately this is not the catchment area. Still, we always have water coming out from the taps.

I hate to be cynical, but I do think you may be being taken advantage should store a quantity of water, so that next time the well runs dry, some other person will have to cough up. You can be very sure that they will have no problem asking you for the money. I told you I was a cynic. Sorry about that.

Love to you.

jmb said...

You are right Welshcakes. While it is an amusing story in some ways, it is indeed a very serious matter.

We take the water which pours out of the tap for granted, but we never should since so many in the world do not have a source of clean water for even the bare necessities.

Whispering Walls said...

Troppo caudo for no water, WL! I still think you should demand a rent reduction

flutterby said...

Remembering your water supply problems makes me turn off the water tap when I'm being profligate. You really do have fantastic pazienza dealing with such water supply issues.

Lucia said...

This reminds me of when I was in Sicily and came home from one of those processions that you walk to a church in another town for 6 hours and sit through a mass and then you just wanna shower and wash your feet when you get home only to find the water is off and so you go onto the balcony where the water jugs are stored and you accidently spill one over the edge of the balcony and Signora Rosa's laundry gets all wet and you lug the jug inside half a sleep and wash your feet because that's all the energy you have! zzzz....summer in Sicily there's always a water story isn't there!?!

CherryPie said...

And everyone over hear takes water for granted, people really should take more care.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I might try that, Nick! As for your second question, I've often wondered about that myself! That's really interesting about your father's letters. Are there any clues at all as to where he was? I'm sure you treasure the letters.
Simi says: "Hello, Alex. You are a very intelligent cat. Ok! And just to show you I'm bilingual - miaow!"
Hi, Mary. Yes, I know you have a worrying situation where you are, too. I had never lived anywhere where you cannot rely on water coming out of the taps before coming here! I do store water in containers, but there's only so much you can store at a time and it doesn't solve the problem of hot water for showers, etc. Drinking water is not a problem as like most people here, I drink mineral water. You are right to be cynical! I'm just the one in this block who can least tolerate the situation because I've just not been used to it. Everyone else thinks it's normal! Love to you, too.
Hi, jmb. You are right. I took it for granted before coming here and I do realise that my concerns are paltry when co,pared to the water situation os so many in the world. I cannot imagine how they manage.
It is indeed, WW. I can't do that as the landlord is not responsible for the water situation.
Thanks, flutterby. I have no choice but to have pazienza! It does not come easily, believe me.
Lucia, you have made me laugh. Thank you. I'll be extra careful when moving the bidoni off the balcony now!
Hi, Cherie. So did I when I was over there. When I came over for a holiday 2 years ago the friend I was staying with asked me what I wanted to do first. I said, "Listen to your taps running!"

Unknown said...

I can only guess from the dates of Dad's letters and the history of Patton's Sicily campaign where he was. I believe the first of those letters may have been written sometime after the capture of Palermo. The really painful letter (Dad talks about the fighting in more detail and the wounding and deaths of his buddies) I believe was written during the battle around a mountain village named Troina. From the way Dad describes it, the fighting there was a continuous hell.

I believe that was my father's last combat in Sicily. His unit was basically in reserve until after the end of the Sicily Campaign. After that he was part of a reorganization and then the invasion of Italy. Dad made it through the North African and Sicily and Italy campaigns all the way to Rome without being wounded. I think that was amazing and am most thankful for it.

Leslie: said...

I think you must truly be a Sicilian in that you just throw up your hands and say "Pazienza!" I'd be freaking out! lol

Minnie said...

I admire your fortitude ("Pazienza!" would probably not be my response ...!) - and your capacity to make an amusing and thought-provoking post out of what must be a worrying situation. As well as a matter of increasing global concern: we need reminding of that.
Keep us posted, do. And bon courage!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's fascinating, Nick. The letter about your father's buddies must be painful to read and the experience must have affected him deeply. Your countrymen are remembered with gratitude and affection here.
Hi, Leslie. Oh, I freak out as well!
Hi, Phidelm. Don't worry - I turn the air blue with swearing before I resign myself and get to the "Pazienza" stage! I never had to think about water use before I came here and I do realise how profligate we can all be now. Thanks for the empathy and I'll keep you posted. Amitiés.

Unknown said...

Thank you.

How is the water crisis going?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Nick. Well, we probably have enough in the cistern for another 12 days or so. After that, "chi lo sa?" - "Who knows?"


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