The Water Pump

I live on a Hinterhof, a house behind a house that has a large municipal playground behind it. This was great when our son was small, now the teenagers congregate there after dark when it is supposed to be closed, but that is another story. The attraction for years had been the water pump - glorious, cool water, all summer long, and lots of sand for building sand castles. The kids got so dirty, but they loved it. I used to wonder where the water came from.

Last year when we were down in the cellar with handymen discussing the expensive repairs needed to be done because we had dry-rot in the flooring, we looked at a strange pipe that ran all the way across the cellar and then outside. I went around the back to see if there was a spigot I knew nothing about - nope, just a shunt for a pipe heading off to the playground.

Water costs 4,70 € per cubic meter (that's 1000 liters, or 5 bathtubs full) - you have to pay it coming and going. At prices like these, we can't afford to be charitable. There was a valve for turning off the pipe, and I closed it, saying: they'll scream if this is indeed their water pipe, and then they can put a water meter on it. Our water bill for last year was a good 250 cubic meters less than normal, some of that must have been the playground...

Nothing happened, and I forgot about it, and there was strangely no water on the playground all summer. They put up a fence around the pump - and silence.

I came home the other day to find a couple of guys wandering around our property, looking for something. Turned out they were waiting for the housekeeper to let them in - they were looking for the water pipe to the playground. I offered to show them one :)

Indeed, this was the pipe.

It's taken them weeks - they had to get a water meter, install it, make sure that it was zeroed properly and normed and primed and goodness knows what else. They turned on the water - and nothing happened, the pump was broken. It had to be removed, a new one installed, the water turned on again - and from the delighted screams coming from the playground, it finally works.

I went over to inspect it - a nice new pump it is, pumps up plenty of the wet stuff. Kids were knee and elbow deep in muck. Mother's were anxiously trying to get their kids to go home, as a thunderstorm is approaching. Fat chance, there is water again! But now it is on the city's bill, not ours.

No comments: