The foyer in the building where I work has, as its centrepiece, a water feature. A huge brown stone monolith of odd angles and aesthetically engineered drops that guarantee a playful background plash of water whenever a visitor drops in to spend a week’s wages on a cup of tea in the café.
Or at least is does when the bloody thing is working.
Unfortunately it hasn’t worked for about a year. It was turned off last winter due to suspicions of “a small leak”.
I guess this is an occupational hazard for a water feature. That and people lobbing pound coins down the plughole or going for a number 2 down the chute.
For various reasons it wasn’t looked into. It got overlooked. The water feature became a dusty dry stone sculpture that only dreamt of the cool flow of legionella rich water gently caressing its chiselled corners.
Until this week. The idea of restoring water to the “desert” feature suddenly became “of the moment”. It became my task for the week. My pre-Christmas mission.
Experts were called in and assembled. Opinions were voiced. An agreement was reached. Existence of the leak needed to be empirically proven or disproven one way of the other.
So an experiment was launched. The water was switched back on. The algae on the stone was moistened with H20 once more.
Like all water features, ours works by recycling the same water round and round. The continual movement prevents stagnation and bacterial build-up. A simple ball-cock mechanism adds fresh mains water whenever necessary to compensate water lost by evaporation or hoodies taking a rare bath. Yesterday, once the system was up and running, we disabled the ball-cock. With no fresh water topping up the system we’d soon be able to see if we were losing any.
We started at 3pm and my brief was to switch the thing off at 5pm when I went home and then back on again tomorrow morning at 9.
At the most we were expecting maybe an inch of water to disappear.
Instead, at 5pm I was gobsmacked to discover that not only was the water feature dry but the entire reservoir tank was also empty. The pump was gamely sucking up hot air.
Where had all that water gone? Several gallons of it had vanished down into the guts of the building in the space of 2 hours without any evidence of it ever having been there.
We have a mystery on our hands.
Further investigations will take place today. I daresay some dull, prosaic explanation will be found. Personally I’d like to imagine that the water has escaped into another dimension, possibly feeding a waterfall in Narnia or topping up a jacuzzi for a couple of half naked elf maidens.
Or perhaps, like a recent episode of Doctor Who, the water has taken on a sinister life of its own and is, even as I write, seeking out some poor unwitting human host whose body can be possessed and turned to some dastardly scheme of world domination. Indeed, it may explain the congregation of strange gentlemen who daily hang around the front of my work building, foaming at the nose with various sized cans of Special Brew growing out of their bottom lips and who have an undissuadable penchant for defecating up the pilasters.
It’s something in the water, I’m telling you...
Hopefully you may be able to persuade the half-naked elf maidens that they don't need to nick your water and can prance and dance quite happily in your water feature if they bring the H20 back.
Your employers could charge for entrance and no-one would ever have to pay any Council Tax in LS ever again.
Sounds like a good idea to me.
(Is there really any need for them to be HALF-naked? Surely elf maidens would not do things by halves - they nicked ALL the water after all).
Gina: good point. An all naked elf jacuzzi it is. Such a thing would make coming to work a pleasure. Sadly I suspect all we'll find is a couple of drowned rats and maybe a colony of malaria carrying mosquitoes.
As for people paying to see me dance... I think both they and I would have to be sectioned first.
We love a mystery don't we... and I liked the list of labels to go with this post - poo?
Mark: rather despairingly, poo seems to crop up quite often in my life.
Core blimey! High luv a mystery...
...like when will the plumbers jargon; ball-cock, be outlawed?.. and speaking of udder dimentions, could it perwraps be sumfun to do with CERN and stargates and wotnot?
Joe Bloggs: you're dead right about the ball-cock malingo... I've found with plumbers that balls-up is often a far more fitting epithet. ;-)
What a mystery!! I can't wait to hear the explanation but for now I personally like the Narnia waterfall theory. However I could be persuaded to go along with the jacuzzi line of thinking if you throw in an elf man or two. Semi naked of course.
Gypsy: I'm not sure I'd want Orlando Bloom farting in my jacuzzi while I'm sandwiched between Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett... however, my regard for you is enough that I could possible run to a second jacuzzi just for you and a male elf of naked persuasion... Lord knows enough water went missing to fill two.
Remember the rats you couldn't find...they have a luxury spa underneath, a sort of rat Versailles...
In the colonies we have to wait for Dr. Who DVD, I have been looking forward to the current season with the new creative director.
ArtSparker: rats and spa water - what an interesting mix that would make! As for Doctor Who - we've got one more special with Tennant to go and then the new series will start next year with Steven Moffat at the creative helm. He's a superb writer so I am looking forward to it greatly.
So funny, I'd go with the different dimension idea, though most likely there is someone with a Very Damp Patch somewhere close by!!
Good Luck with your mission ;)
Suburbia: in all seriousness a Very Damp Patch somewhere nearby is probably the most likely outcome. Sadly I don't think the Very Damp Patch will be at all attached to an elf maiden - half naked or otherwise. But I can dream.
I'm going to keep my fingers X'd for a narnia scenario but think damp patch is probably going to win.
Why does the term ball-cock always make me giggle?
Is it because I had a sheltered childhood?
Kaz: the term "flange" has the same effect on me though I am unable to specify why.
reminds me of the smelly water feature in Trump Tower in NY.
obviously it suffered from the same malfunction as the one in your building.
obviously needs a new ballcock AND a flange.
Ah Steve, be careful of places where it is obvious that a tear in the space time continuum is present... if you fall in, you too may end up in Narnia... well, that might be sort fun, actually.
I see I'm not the only one who noticed the ball-cock and the half naked elf maidens associated with this spurting fountain of pleasure... which ran dry after a while... ahh, the vicissitudes of life, and fountains...
Can't wait to hear the results of the sleuthing work which is sure to ensue, to find the truth behind this plumbing mystery.
Owen: investigations will begin in earnest this week (let's hope that Earnest can take it like a man) and we aim to have the fountain of pleasure spurting again as soon as possible (Narnia may experience a loss of service with their water supply as a consequence).
Oh I love a mystery. And I can see you as a Colombo figure or maybe at a stretch, Trevor Eve from Waking The Dead - he is one sexy man.
I'm with KAZ about ball-cock. It's such a funny word ...
Selina: I can certainly be as grumpy as Trevor Eve in Waking The Dead... though hopefully not as rude and anti-social!
I thought the punch line might be 'and they made me stay there until I'd discovered the source of the leak and I had to live at the office for 72hrs'
This bit did make me laugh though *or hoodies taking a rare bath*
I choose to look upon this as a metaphor for the spiritual desert which is Britain to-day. Well, you have to find your consolation where you can, don't you?
FF: The saints preserve me from such a fate!
Circus Monkey: a constant leak that just cannot be found...? Hmm. That sums up the modern British economy rather nicely.
It evaporated due to the rising temperature of excitement...
Nota Bene: trust me, that rarely gets above lukewarm...
or um leaked through a pipe leak through a wall, dripping into a room which is now growing humungous amounts of mold ....let us know when you solve this mystery!
Emma: the thought of my place of work having mouldy foundations is almost too apt to be true. Almost, but not quite.
It rained like hell here the other night....
Amanda: can I just say that the yellow shower had nothing to do with me...
Ah I do love a good watery tale; is there some mystery fountain of youth which is absorbing the H2O at an accelerated rate or is the Chief Exec taking too much water in his coffee?
I look forward to reading the next installment of this. I bet you the water has seeped through some wall partition waiting to re-emerge during a meeting or training event
Don't feel obliged to publish this but I was just out in the garden when I had an overwhelming feeling I should come here and ask after your Grandad. I hope everything is ok and my radar just needs a service and tune up.
Maybe it was dry water...you know...like how it is over here in the desert parts of the U.S.
Dry heat, dry snow, dry wind...why not dry water?
It's a thought...
Löst Jimmy: the thought of the Chief Exec pilfering the waters of youth is hilarious. H. Rider Haggard missed a trick there...!
Gypsy: I haven't been to visit my grandfather since the weekend as I've been ill myself the last few days but according to the hospital he's stable but poorly. Thank you so much for asking.
Sweet Cheeks: dry water...? Yeah, I think my employer could pull that off - the water hasn't disappeared, it was just too dry!
Gypsy: your radar is spot-on. I've just heard that my grandfather died in his sleep this morning.
There are times when I hate that I am right and this is one of those times. It was so peculiar. I just kept getting a voice in my head saying check on Steve's grandad.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Gypsy: don't feel bad. If I'd listened to you rather than waiting for news to filter through from the hospitsl I may have been there in time to see him off...
Water on the run.
A liquid fugitive.
Some lovely images there.
They seek him here, they seek him there......water, water, everywhere but nowhere. Master of disguise LOL
How will you know this water when you find it. Might someother water masquerading as the runaway water.
Oh, I could go on but I'd better not.
There's a suspicious looking puddle outside.
AWB: I'm always reminded of Blake's line: expect poison from the standing water... hopefully if the water is moving so much it is safe...?
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