No more stopgap stopcock

It’s sunny and warm with a sailor’s wind, carrying the smell of reviving life.
It’s a day for cultivation – the nearest most humans will get to the urge for seasonal migration.
The day calls for turned earth-
– and I am pulling the pump from the borehole.
There is no water coming into the roundhosue or the bunkhouse where the guests stay – I fill a bowser at the shed to siphon it into the tanks – one load early and one in the afternoon. It is not too arduous but I need to resolve the problem before this stop-gap becomes semi-permanent.
I stand by the bowser as it fills- it is a good day for standing. The yard is sheltered from the breeze and the sun is warm. The Maran hens are scratching at the dust while cocky gimps about looking more lopsided by the day. A woodpecker hammers industiously somewhere close by, and the mallard drakes squabble on the pond.
This passivity is entirely seductive-
I look for something to do.
The tap used to fill the tank is at ground level – just installed on the end of the undergrounded pipe, a stopgap stopcock.
I know I have some fittings in the shed and certainly some alkythene. I do – but not all. There are no inserts to strengthen the pipe when the couplings are tightened.
The joints sometimes work without-
It would be unwise to interfere with the current arrangement as the entire farmstead is dependant on it-
but it would fill the time.
I make up the new section that will bring the tap to a working height: straight coupling, alkythene, elbow, vertical pipe. Now time to close the tap and reinstate it on the end of the new line and screw it to one of the poles supporting the roof.
Water back on – it squirts –
but from only one joint.
Not workable but a result.
Now I have an incentive to find those inserts.
I reflect that sometimes we walk through non-viability on our way to refinement.
On the hill this evening discrete clouds scud from the west like flotillas against the blue, smoke is driven over Kingussie from heather fires. From here I can see the front of flame, driven before the wind – on the verge of being uncontrollable.
Tasty young heather shoots will sprout there in a year or two-
for the while it will remain a wasteland,
devoid of life,
non-viable, apparently.


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