Saturday, December 24, 2011


Last evening, Saturday, I was watching Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List – again. There was nothing else on television for grown-ups or for anyone allergic to sugar, and I only had one eye on what was going on. The other eye was grappling with killer sudoku (can an eye grapple?) when I heard a sort of metallic giggle from the kitchen.

My heart leapt. Yes, leapt!

I abandoned Jack and Morgan without a thought. I flew into the kitchen. I crossed my fingers and turned on the tap. It spat and gurgled and shook itself. And then – glory be! Water flowed! I warbled as I filled the sink and washed the dirty dishes that had been accumulating all day. Never had washing up been such a pleasure.

Of such small mercies is joy unconfined. As I said, it was Saturday. No water had flowed from the taps since Friday afternoon. Since the earthquakes had started up again in fact, with three big rolling bangs and more than sixty (and still counting) reminders that Nature has not finished with us yet.

Luckily I still had water stored in bottles, a couple of plastic fruit juice containers, a 20-litre container and even in a bucket in the garage (I had planned to do some painting out there). A neighbour was more creative – and quick off the mark. At the first big bang he had rushed inside and filled the bath. At the second big bang half of that sloshed out on to the floor, but still he had a lot of water left. Just as well, because that's about when the pipe in the street burst and left us water-less.

Most of us take water on tap for granted. Twenty four hours without it reminded me that a large percentage of people around the globe are not so lucky. I feel a little squishy inside today – it's Christmas day here in New Zealand after all. What's that saying – saw it on Facebook just yesterday? Ah yes: Gratitude is what makes what I have enough.

Painting: Abstract

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