After two weeks of struggling to provide ourselves with enough water to do the basic necessities, Insch fire crew arrived this morning to deliver what we thought would be a load of water.
Instead, they delivered seven loads of water (filling our 12,500 litre tank) and even better, as far as the boys were concerned, brought presents to mark the Big Lad’s and the Wee ‘Un’s birthdays.
We’d had to cancel their usual joint birthday party, the Big Lad’s is on 25 January while the Wee ‘Un’s is on 28 January, which was a major disappointment.
The boys were more than happy to learn the fire appliance was coming out for their birthdays, and then couldn’t believe their luck when the firefighters presented them with a toy emergency vehicle set, two firefighter’s helmets, two books and a huge pack of pictures to colour. This was totally unexpected and capped a brilliant morning.
But back to the water situation. Grampian Fire and Rescue Service were among the very first organisations to offer their help, but we couldn’t take them up on the offer any earlier because we had to find a source of water.
Scottish Water had been the obvious choice to contact when we first ran out of water, but even though we’d told the company we wanted to buy water, they’d turned us down. Not only that, but the Scottish Water employees and managers had been uniformly surly and unhelpful.
In the end, an intense media and political campaign backed by my own contacts and the efforts of the ACLers paid off and Scottish Water agreed to provide us with the water as a one-off and at no cost. They could have saved themselves a lot of grief and hassle if they’d simply sold us some water in the first place.
And with the water organised, Grampian Fire and Rescue Service was able to help us out. While it was partly because we’d given them our water to fight a large fire on a neighbouring farm last year, I suspect they would still have helped in any case.
But what made a real impression was the commitment and dedication of the Insch crew. They are all retained firefighers (part-time volunteers) and their crew manager had come out on Friday to tell us they would be doing the job.
He said that while the fire service managers had suggested another crew handle the job, the Insch crew had insisted on doing the water runs themselves because it was their community and they would look after it.
All four of the crew who came out today had given up a morning’s work to help us, and you can’t get a better example of dedication and community service than that.
Our thanks go to Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and particularly to the Insch crew, your help today is a terrific example that perfectly illustrates why we wanted to move to a small country community.