We were situated on the edge of a valley in the middle of nowhere. It was peaceful and beautiful. The perfect spot for us; but it wasn’t long before we realised we were going to have water and electricity problems.
Our water supply was a small stream a kilometre down the hill. We managed to get a pump, which filled a tank close by. The problem was, we didn’t always have sufficient power to get the water to the tank. We lived on fluctuating voltage. When it was low, nothing worked. When a surge came in, it blew all our light bulbs and fused our electrical appliances. We invested in some stabilisers; which sorted that problem out.
When we first moved in, we were grateful for the low voltage. The house wasn’t earthed. The girls discovered that when they grabbed both taps while they were bathing. Our computer regularly shocked us and appliances were tapped lightly to test for tingly current. We called a guy who dug a hole in our garden and earthed us. It was fun being able to go barefoot around the house again.
The little stream flowed quite well in the monsoon, but almost completely dried up in summer. When there was no power and no water, the guys went down the hill with buckets. They would often find the pipe blocked with leaves and dead frogs.
On occasions, we would go without a full bath for a week at a time. There was only enough water for the stinky bits. Once, Guy Emery brought a bucket up for me to wash my filthy hair. I was leaning over it, just about to scoop out a jug of water when I saw leeches wriggling around at the bottom. I was so desperate; I just closed my eyes and kept scooping.
Friends from South Africa regularly sent me bubble foam, not realising that we didn’t have a bath. BUT, we did have a big, blue 50 litre bucket. I had spent a few days dreaming about having a bubble bath. I planned it and made sure I wasn’t going to be interrupted. It was in the monsoon so water wasn’t a problem. I filled the bucket up with warm water and there were plenty of bubbles. I tried to go in feet first but that didn’t work. I couldn’t sit all the way down. I got out and reversed onto the bubbles; my arms and legs dangling over the edge. All my beautiful bubbles overflowed onto the floor as I hung there, not able to move. I was stuck. I couldn’t reach the floor and I was too far from the sink to pull myself out. I had no option. I called Tony to rescue me.
When he finally stopped laughing, he “tried” to pull me out. When that didn’t work, he tipped the bucket and me onto the floor. He told me I looked like a blue turtle and laughed some more. I was red faced from the hot water and all the huffing and puffing. We were in fits. The kids came to see what all the laughter was about. My dream bubble bath had turned into a circus. Not the quiet moment I had planned.
Our friend Anil Kapoor, owner of the Brentwood Hotel, was getting rid of a big ceramic bathtub; a REAL bathtub. He said we could have it. The kids were so excited when it arrived. It was heavy and a real mission to get up the stairs and into the bathroom. We didn’t think to measure it.
When the guys moved out of the bathroom, we went in to have a look. It fitted perfectly under the taps. There was no plug but we could make one. The only problem was that it was too long. It rested on the toilet and covered part of the seat. We all happily agreed that we could adjust our sitting styles for the sake of having a bath. Anything for a REAL bath.