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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Memories

We do not remember days; we remember moments. ~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand
Everyone has stories & I've been thinking about this for a while ~ well a whole weekend, two days & two nights! I am cautiously putting out a tentative feeler because I have crashed 2 blogs so far ~ every time I fiddle in fact ~ so I don't know how to do those cute linkies & I ain't a gonna try! BUT I thought it might be a nice way to share so if you want to play & share a memory leave your link in the usual place. A link back here would be nice but, hey, I'm not a stickler for rules so as you like.

Twenty years ago we packed all our worldy possessions & three children into a twenty~five foot caravan & moved to our block of land on the island. We had been planning the move for some time but when the nappies started freezing on the line & that white stuff fell there was no more arguement about moving. We do not like the white stuff.

We moved in August. The island had been in drought for years. We had organized for the electrician to put up our electrical pole so we could hook up our washing machine etc. We had ordered our water tank because there was no town water. We had cleared the block enough to park the van & to save money had stowed absolutely everything we owned in the van because we had an annex we could move it into once we arrived. It was, quite literally, packed to the ceiling.

I haven't moved often & there is a reason for this. Nothing ever goes according to plan. I had Jossie, who was nearing 5, & Theo & Dino, who were heading for two & as the truck that had towed our overladen van headed back down the dirt road in a cloud of red dust racing to make the barge, the first big fat raindrop fell.

We sat in the car with the rain drumming over us as only torrential rain can & contemplated our new life. The electricity pole had not arrived ~ no electricity. The annex was stowed in the bottom of the caravan ~ no annex. The caravan was chock~a~bloc with our belongings ~ no gas to cook on, no beds to sleep in, no food to eat, no clean clothing. The rain was falling but we had no water tank to catch it.

Eventually Dearest braved the elements & clambered into the van to shift & squeeze, & wedge & jam till he had made enough room for everyone to crawl into a bed. We drove to the shop for bread & sandwich makings & picnicked in the car before we sent the boys crawling through the maze to bed. Thank God we never had a fire because we would never have got out.

It rained all night & all the next day...& the day after that...& the next one. The drought had broken with a vengeance! The change in water gave all the boys diarrhoea ~ & I had no washing machine & no water to wash with; no bathroom & no easy access to clean clothing. About here I will point out that things like laundromats & motels don't exist on the island. When we moved here it was pretty primitive. No mail delivery. No garbage pick up. No doctor. The boats ran 1/2 a dozen times a day & the last one was at 6pm. If you missed it you were done for. So why on earth, you're probably asking, would anyone in their right mind move here? Well for starters the islands are absolutely gorgeous! The air is clean. The soil is fertile & the community was so tiny there was a real sense of community back then. Everyone knew you. If you walked someone with a car stopped & picked you up. If you missed a boat a neighbour picked your kid up from school as a matter of course. No silly nonsense about permission in writing! People borrowed your car without asking & topped up the fuel before they returned it to you. If you ran out of coffee you walked to a neighbour's & helped yourself to anything you needed, knowing that next week you would be visited in like manner.

Eventually a neighbour ~ & they were few & far between back then, ~ realised we were in rather serious trouble. She turned out to be the most brilliant friend, garrulous, interesting [interesting is important!] & incredibly kind. She rounded up my poor children & took them home with her & gave them her floor to play on with her kiddie. She rounded up my disgusting washing & put it through her machine & out on her line. She rounded me up & fed me massive doses of caffeine & chocolate. One can't ask for more than that from a friend!

Then clouds rolled away, the sun shone, we put up our annex & began building a house. We moved into it 2 weeks before Liddy arrived. When the cyclone season rolled round & we weathered our first cyclone our friend arrived with two kiddies in tow to sit it out at our place because her house was so old the roof was lifting & the floor slithering along its stumps. We all piled onto the bed upstairs, all nine of us, & watched with disbelief as a our cyclone strength windows bent in 4''! Not the easiest thing to live through but I can top just about anyone else's story these days! How about you?


Britwife said...

Wow, what an amazing adventure! I have to ask you about that water it a tank that is filled by someone? If so, where do they get the water? Do you catch rain?
Here in the country (where we live) we have a well (we don't have city water either). They drill down - sometimes hundreds of feet and put a pipe down. We don't have a tank.

Ganeida said...

Britwife: The roof acts as a catchment area. Our gutters connect to down pipes & the down pipes feed into the tanks. In many places the water is very hard. Rainwater is better for drinking. In drought all water is precious & to be saved so in the country people have tanks & bores & wells & dams yadda yadda....

When my parents were on property they pumped water from a dam into the house tanks if rainwater hadn't filled them.

The HoJo's said...

We have a bore (no smirky looks at Ian please ) but are planning on getting a tank to collect the rainwater, there is so much of it in winter it seems daft not to save it,
I think your moving story beats all of mine and there have been a few, moving the day the twin towers came down was a shocker.


seekingmyLord said...

Beats my moving story, for sure, even though it was quite a "moving experience" for me. ;)

Persuaded said...

well, hon, that can certainly top any adventure I've ever had! hands down! and oh my gracious, if i didn't already admire you tremendously i would now for sure;)

and i think that friend has got to be one in a million... washing the kids' dirty duds, providing you with chocolate and caffeine?? give that woman a ((hug)) where ver she is♥

Sandra said...

You are an adventurer! My last move was to the country. I was born and raised in a city, so this seemed like wild country to me. I was actually kind of scared! Mind you, it's only 25 miles west of Minneapolis, but I thought I was in the boon docks. It was 30 degrees below zero, the movers were not dressed for the weather and they didn't want to be doing the job, so everything got dumped in one room and they were out of here. We moved during Mark's busy season, so I was on my own, in a strange land! Somehow, reading your story makes it seem rather puny to me, but it was a big deal at the time!
I've thought about catching rain water. My grandmother did. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to look to past habits.