I hate having to set the alarm to wake up at 7 am on a Saturday! After a week teaching, especially in the exhausting humidity of June on the Costa Blanca, a Saturday morning lie in would be welcome. But no, it was an aqueduct work party morning…
Having agreed 8 o’clock as the time to gather, with implements to clean the aqueduct, my neighbours usually arrive at 7.30, giving the lie to the Spanish ‘manana’ attitude. So I was up promptly at seven, breakfasted by twenty past, and there was a knock on my door at twenty-five past… What a panic for a weekend rest day!
The work party is always a variable number. I have done the job alone sometimes. Other Saturdays, just three or four of us go up the two kilometres of aqueduct to clean it and bring the water down. Today we had a record seven people.
We formed a ‘train’. Victor, the retired Basque chef, leading with a full-size scythe, looking like Father Time, cutting down the plants that overhang the aqueduct. Then Cristobal and Pablo with hoes, tidying up the banks and cutting away the loose soil. Then various people with different implements and cement, repairing the breaks in the aqueduct itself. Finally two of us bringing up the rearguard with shovels. The backbreaking task of removing the silt and the earth and vegetation brought down by the front of the ‘train’. Three hours work. Now the water is flowing into the cisterna and we have all agreed to let it fill up before we take any water for our land.