Derek – Friday 10th September 2021

It rained on Wednesday, after ten dry days, with temperatures up to 30 degrees, just to test our mettle and our watering cans. Our tap was removed at short notice two weeks ago, so our water butts were on the low side. The rain has partially filled them. So we are OK for now.

I am reminded of those cowboy films where the plot centres around the Clantons, or some such bunch, cutting off the water to the good guys’ ranch. Our reaction was not a shoot out but a Steering Group meeting. How civilised, one might say. This was held on Wednesday evening in the garden; the decision was that the water problem needed more time than the meeting could allow, so we’ll hold a special meeting with water the only item on the agenda.

Let’s hope the Clantons don’t show up.

The solution isn’t complicated; there are only two possibilities. One is to go on as we are but increase the roof area from where we drain water so as to give us more reserves. The other is by some means getting a tap. We could pay Thames Water to put one in. Three thousand quid was the last estimate. Or we could see if there is any way that Gateway, the owners of the new estate, can give us one. Failing that we could try a neighbour, perhaps paying them to have an outside tap put in. It would be a lot cheaper than Thames Water.

Opinions are deeply divided. We’d best leave our guns at the saloon door.

A little matter, you might say, in the scheme of things. But it does make one think about the role of water in the wider world. Agribusinesses across the globe are drilling into deep aquifers for water, going deeper and deeper, and the water which has built up over the centuries is gone in a few years. Having drained the wells, and left a desert, they move on to pastures new.

Too much and too little. Drought and floods are two sides of the climate change coin. The former causing forest fires, crop failures, dried up rivers and lakes, the latter submerging houses in towns and countryside, with repeated floods at deltas.

The world is suffering a climate crisis. All the signals are there, which is why COP 26 in Glasgow this November is so important. A chance to change things. But previous climate summits show governments are past masters at making promises, lousy at delivering them. We must keep pushing or they’ll do as little as they can get away with.

We have too many snails in the pond. They are ganging up on the water lilies, congregating and eating the large floating leaves, and then hitting the buds and flowers. I see them among the shredded remnants, the smoking gun of their crime, the snails oblivious.

What is to be done?

We could leave them to their fate. Malthus informed us two centuries ago what happens when populations overbreed. Starvation and disease will cull their numbers. Or we can play God and remove some.

Americana is almost at an end. Those plants on the sleepers are decrepit with crinkled leaf, apart from the potatoes and sugar cane. In a week or two, we will clear them. Though in the raised square bed, the butternut squash and sunflowers are giving us a fine late show.

The wildflower bed is having the longest of seasons. It started late due to a chilly May, then came a battering in July and August’s storms, but the rain-soaked ground has kept delivering with yellow and red poppies, blue borage, white campion, and the tiny yellow flowers of hedge mustard. We’ll have a few weeks of them yet.

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