Thursday, January 25, 2007


We were supposed to be out on the ocean watching for the spouts of whales as they headed south from Alaska. Instead, workmen from across the road came rapping on Susie's door to say there was water bubbling out of the ground at the front wall of her house.

We went out to look. Right enough, water was forcing itself up through the flowerbed and gushing chocolate brown across the pavement and along the gutter. A leak in the water main. Susie rushed off to phone the City, whose responsibility it would be to fix it.

I stood in the street watching. And right before my eyes, the ground began to tremble. The earth heaved and puffed and blew. A shrub got pulled up by the roots, before suddenly a powerful jet of water simply exploded out of the ground.

Thar she blows!

It was not the kind of spout we had been anticipating. But the force of it was incredible, exiting the ground at an angle, slamming against the wall of the house, ripping at the gutter, before deflecting twenty feet above the roof, a rainbow forming in sunshine through fine spray.

By now, everyone was out in the street. Neighbours, workmen, passers-by. It was an extraordinary spectacle, and a huge hole had formed in the ground. It took the waterworkers from the City more than half-an-hour to get there. All the while we were praying that the gutter would hold. Because if it gave way, the force of the water would rip up the roof and the damage would be unthinkable.

When finally the City workers arrived they gawped open-mouthed, and then spent the next half-hour trying to find the valve to turn off the water. They were up the street, down the street, round the corner, before finally finding the right one, buried under crap in a building site next door.

We left them to it, and belatedly met up with Pam and Mick who were taking us out whale-spotting on their boat. As we cruised gently out of the harbour towards the ocean, we finally began to relax after the morning's excitement.

Sadly, Susie's geyser was the only one we saw that morning. No whales to be seen. We did, however, spot an enormous elephant seal, and a handful of dolphins who played around our wake for a while, before we returned for a gentle tour of the harbour, drifting past the homes of millionaires while chomping on avocado sandwiches.

By the time we got home, the repair was finished, and the water guys had replaced all the earth that had been washed away. They had cleaned up the road and the pavement, and you'd never have known that anything untoward had happened.

The "Mushroom House", on the market for a cool 75 million dollars...


Argil said...

décidément, on ne s'ennuie jamais chez Susie! Il faut toujours qu'elle se fasse remarquer d'une façon ou d'une autre...
nous voyons que Peter travaille intensément...
profitez de la mer, du beau temps
embrassez Susie pour nous
grows bees

BaconMan said...

Better lay off those refried bean margaritas or you'll be getting a bill from the city water department!