We all knew we were going to be without water for a few days. There was plenty round the corner in the sea but nothing coming out of the tap. The well had run dry and try as we might and no matter what buttons we pressed there was nothing coming out. If we turned a tap on there was a conciliatory grunt of air but nothing further. The water was done.
It took a breakfast and its dirty dishes for us to start missing it. The smell of milk could not be scrubbed away with hot water from the sea. It needed hot fresh water and soapy suds.
The pump in the orchard was working and Joseph Holland had shown us the screw to turn that sent water gushing our around our feet as we stood by it. The water was coming out of the ground but it wasn’t making it the few hundred yards from the pump to the Cottage.
Having talked it over in the pub we had called the number on the big sign on a wall on the drive through Drimoleague
Harte Bros Water Divining
& Well Boring established 1929
The diviner’s hand patted the air as he spoke. He had a pitched voice.
‘We’ll need a feckin’ hole’ he said looking at the distance between the pump house and the Cottage.
‘A feckin’ long hole. If we dig enough we’ll find the leak and then we can patch it up. We may not need to punch you a new well. Digging holes is the best way to do it.’
‘There was a man thought he could do it with food dye. He had more water than he knew what to do with coming out of his well. It was like a feckin’ great fountain so tall it went into the air. All he needed was one of those stone statues and he could have made something of his garden. But as soon as he connected the pump to the pipe to take the water to the house the water disappeared. So he should have dug a hole. But this man the feck didn’t want holes in his garden he had enough of that with the moles and their little black mounds on his green lawn. So he put a pot of purple food dye into the water to see where it came out. Well all of his pipe was fecked and the water was leaking all over his garden and in a week all his green grass he was so proud of had turned purple. And we still had to dig up his lawn to find the leak.’
‘So we’ll dig you a hole and we’ll find you your leak.’
He paused and looked at the ground.
‘And don’t you be thinking that I will be walking up and down here holding some sort of forked stick.’
‘They did a test with diviners. Put pipes with water in under a field and sent them out with their sticks and they walked up and down and dug holes to find where the water was. Then they covered up those holes and they sent some other men into the same field and just told them to dig some holes to see if they could find any water. Well the men who just went into the field to dig and carried no sticks with them found as much water as the men with their forked sticks. So why feckin’ bother I said to myself. Why carry a stick and try and pretend I know what I am doing when all I have to do is dig some holes to find water. A diviner see is a man who finds water. Well I find water by digging holes.’
‘So let us go to the pub and have a pint and see if there is a man there with a digger and we can start at the digging.’