Sunday, 13 November 2011


WATER, in its many guises, whether rain or piped from the water company (or snow, sleet or hail for my fellow global gardeners) was what I had in mind when I tapped out the title for this piece.  However, my thoughts apply equally to any weather phenomenon - sun, rain or even wind; for who does not appreciate a pleasant breeze on a summer's day and yet, are almost petrified at the thought of a gale force wind, tornado or hurricane? Or delighted by a light dusting of powdered sugar-like snow, only to despise it when it prevents one from going about one's daily business, beyond the first magical day.

Growing up, my mother used to say of friends - the best way to keep them is not to see them too little or too often - I have a similar relationship with water/rain.  The Fickle Mistress who we cannot live without, though on some days we wish her gone. We even make up rhymes asking her to go away and come back another day and then complain bitterly and pine for her return if she stays away too long; what contrary creatures we humans are.

This week, we experienced water shortages in some parts of the island with the pumping station for this area only turning on the supply at seemingly random times, in the early hours of the morning (or at the "crap of dawn" as my friend Carolyn likes to say) or very late at night.  What a sense of relief one feels when you turn on the tap and hear that gurgling sound as the water returns. I know now, with hindsight, that I should have incorporated a rain water capture system within the house build, however, at the time my head was so full of other issues - at first only the nice elements about the aesthetics and then later, picking up the pieces after the crooked builder left me with an unsafe structure and absconded with the sizable deposit.

So, until I can add a proper rain water system, I have installed an eight hundred gallon water tank to store piped water. Unfortunately, this too has it's own complications, having become  contaminated after the local reservoir was flooded with silt - and so it sits months later, waiting for me to hire a man to disconnect it, clean it and re-fit it.  A second back-up tank is also on the "to do" list.  Like many other aspects of island living, it's often a case of feast or famine and this week was no exception with a change in the weather (we are at the tail end of hurricane season) bringing sudden and torrential downpours - a case of too much water outside, whilst barely sufficient inside.

There was a time when one could predict the comings and goings of the rainy season and the dry season with reasonable accuracy, but recent years have seen the wettest dry season, the driest wet season, the driest dry season (close to 5 months without rain on this a rainforest island) and the worst hurricane, in terms of fatalities and damage to infrastructure, since records began when HURRICANE TOMAS passed through a year ago this month.  Global warming? Perhaps........

Torrential rain causes a landslide and blocks the road

What was to later become the driveway to the house

Road to my parent's home. The wall on the left totally collapsed later that day

LOST! All my top soil washes down and blocks the 3ft deep storm drain for about 100 yards

The finished drive with its torrent of rain water during stormy weather

A great view, even on rainy days


  1. Oh my - what an ordeal! Thoughts are with you. I read your parents are also on St. Lucia. There's nothing like family, in my opinion!

  2. Thanks Chili - to be fair our experience pales into insignificance, compared to the plight of many others, particularly at the passing of Hurricane Tomas. We are all well and I have my parents, two brothers and sister in law living on approx 2 acres - close enough, but we all have our own space.