How Is Your Support System?

room display at the american museum in bath, england

We’ve been away for two weeks. We got back a couple of days ago and learned this morning that a 22-inch water pipe burst about a week ago and deprived large parts of Edinburgh of water. Some houses had no water for three days.

We heard about it because a water main burst today, and the question of how long the repair would take was a talking point. In fact, the repair was done quickly.

The burst main reminded me of a conversation I had in the American Museum in Bath, which we visited last week. The photo here is a panoramic shot of the room at it would have been a couple of hundred years ago.

The light was low, so the photo is pixelated and full of noise, but I hope you get the idea.

The person I met and I discussed how ‘near to the edge’ people lived in some of the frontier regions.

If things went wrong there was perhaps no backup, no one to come to their aid. And we talked about how today the infrastructure that keeps everything ticking along gives us so much but is only as resilient as the weakest link.

Imagine if the water supply was cut off for longer. Then people would have to make the rounds with water bowsers. But if disease spread because of the lack of water, maybe that would cause a further breakdown.

It all seems tightly wound and I wonder what would cause it to fail – not that I want to find out.


By the way, header image that is currently at the top of this site is the view over the hills and valley at the rear of the American Museum in Bath.

15 thoughts on “How Is Your Support System?

  1. Yes, even in the most modern of times, we all need to have emergency supplies on hand, and a plan. Reverting to more primitive times, we need to know how to prepare meals and get water, have candles or battery lighting, how to keep warm without electricity. Perhaps it’s something that should be taught in schools – basic survival.

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    1. I agree. We have a box of candles, but when the water main burst we didn’t have a big water container to keep water in case they shut it off completely. So Tamara filled pans and the kettle. We really should get a big container – and something to sterilise water.

      I know there is a movement in the US to prepare for doom, and maybe that’s not a good balance of what to do – but it’s common sense to be somewhat prepared for problems.

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        1. 3 cords of wood all stacked up ready for winter… Store room shelves lined with jewel-toned jars of fruits and vegetables, jelly, jam and pickles, sacks of potatoes and braided onions… A garden gate long gone askew; re-hinged and rehung, true and square… A folder full of completed blog posts (or amazing photos: ) In other words – and whatever it means – a sense of personal accomplishment: )

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  2. Preparedness is not so good, generally speaking. In this building, we lose water often, but only for short amounts of time. I always keep some water bottles at hand. We’ve made ourselves so vulnerable. A total power outage would almost take down society after a while.

    I have a fellow Swedish expat out in California. Her little town [named Weed of all things 🙂 ], are often so low on water so they drive out trucks with water tanks. The drought out there is pretty bad.

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  3. As to self-sufficiency? Well, from what I see around here, there is an increasing tendency toward using, buying, eating locally-made goods and as a result, there are more Makers – people GROWING & CREATING- and a resurgence of less reliance… greater independence: )
    As I see it, being naught but a consumer, needy of constant consumption, brings no sense of achievement, only more wanting.

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    1. I’ve been thinking recently about how we came to be in this mess. Not that it is a mess in many way, and not to romanticise the past.

      It’s obvious, but I think the great increase in populations and communications has brought about some strange outcomes. With huge markets, some manufacturers/sellers become bigger than anyone could have envisioned. And then the span between rich and poor becomes so lopsided that we have the danger of the malaise of satisfaction.

      I read yesterday that there is a growing number of young men who would rather play computer games than go to work – so they just stay at home.

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