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Spanish Secrets: The Elixir Of Life

...Watching the drill sink deeper-and-deeper was like watching one's money disappear into a bottomless pit. We looked on for a while in the forlorn hope that water would be discovered...

Craig Briggs and his wife Melanie look on anxiously as an uncommissioned drilling crew search for water at a ruined Galician farmhouse...

To read earlier chapters of Craig's property developing adventures please click on Spanish Secrets in the menu on this page.

There’s no such thing as a problem - simply challenges to overcome.

On this optimistically philosophical note we set about overcoming the first of our new found problems.

As if the discovery of a giant drilling-rig churning up one’s garden isn’t bad enough, finding one there that shouldn’t be is even worse. It wasn’t the fact that we didn’t need a water-bearing borehole, quite the contrary. It was a matter of priorities. Firstly we needed an electricity supply. Only then could we pump the water to the surface.

We decided it was time to speak with Chanquero, the man responsible for this minor misunderstanding. He agreed to meet us the following day.

That morning we woke early and set off eagerly to our ruined farmhouse. We were desperately hoping that water had been found. At least this would be one less thing for us to worry about. The booming noise of the generator shattered those hopes. In our rush to discover this disappointing news, we’d arrived too early for our meeting with Chanquero. At least I could check on the progress of things.

I clambered passed the oily generator and headed towards the drilling rig. As I neared the towering platform I noticed that the dry, grey dust, mushrooming from the wellhead like volcanic lava, now resembled a thick, grey soup. The only additive capable of causing such a muddy mess must surely be – water! With rising expectations I quickened my steps and waded cautiously through the slimy-sludge.

“Have you found water?” I shouted excitedly over the thunderous noise of the mechanical monster.

“Not yet.” He replied.

My bemusement was quickly dispelled as I caught sight of the driller’s mate pouring a bucket of cold water down the smoking shaft. Moments later, like a hot geezer, the liquid returned in a cloud of steam followed seconds later by a thick, grey fluid spewing out of the hole. I’d unwittingly mistaken the cooling and lubricating of the drill-bit as the discovery of water.

“How deep is it?” I shouted despairingly.

The answer sent euro-bells ringing in my ears. As I turned to walk away, thinking how I might break the news gently to Melanie, I caught sight of Chanquero stepping from his mud-splattered jeep.

Like a circus clown, I slipped and slid my way across the garden to meet him. My comical approach only served to heighten my annoyance and fortify my determination. Chanquero was a big man with a rugged, outdoor complexion but I was in no mood to be messed around.

We met in the lane and shook hands. I explained my grievances as best I could and waited for his response. His submissive manner caught me off-guard and quickly calmed what might have become an ugly confrontation.

In exchange for him matching our cheapest quote and agreeing that we could delay final payment, we agreed that he could stay on site and continue drilling. Having reached an amicable agreement, Chanquero had a quick word with his two workmen before driving off down the lane.

Watching the drill sink deeper-and-deeper was like watching one's money disappear into a bottomless pit. We looked on for a while in the forlorn hope that water would be discovered, but another 24 hours would pass before that happened.

We’d budgeted for a borehole to a similar depth as ours at home - 87 metres. Unfortunately this was not to be. By the time the giant drill had finally ground to a halt, it had reached a depth of 200 metres. At a cost per metre drilled, our budget was in tatters – but at least we’d discovered that magical elixir of life - water.

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