I know that you will all be anxious to know how the Iberian Idlers are getting on on their travels and looking forward to some insightful commentary about historical, cultural or political matters ………. 

Firstly the mitigation:

– It was hot. Not ‘stinking hot’ as Sue’s Dad was often to comment – as there was a breeze, but hot enough to prove a challenge to a Northern European’s equilibrium. It clouded judgment somewhat and skewed perspective.

– We were under time pressure – to refill the van’s fresh water tank and check out of the campsite before the designated departure time and thus avoid paying for another, unnecessary, night. Inevitably we were already out of time and that clock was still ticking!

Things had not got off to a good start. The map of the campsite was useless – nothing seemed to be in the right place and the designated water refill point for campervans was no-where to be found. Becoming a tad frustrated I had searched the site, finding many fresh water taps – but none with the standard thread that would allow me to attach the hose that would connect to the tank. I was just beginning to grumpily accept that I was going to have to make the connection by holding a soft rubber funnel onto the end of a tap attached to the hose (and almost certainly getting water sprayed out in thin streams over me) when, in a far corner of the site I found it – a tap with a connector already screwed into place. I did vaguely clock that there was something odd about this tap – it stuck out at a 90 degree angle for one thing, about 3 foot above and parallel to the ground, but I was in a rush.

I traipsed back across the site under the glare of the noon day sun and drove the van with a degree of urgency over to the tap and into place alongside it. Having extracted the hose and the necessary connecting pieces from their stowage places in the van and placed them nearby I then realised that my challenges were far from over – there was no lever or turning thingy on top of the tap to operate it. All that remained of that part of the mechanism was a small lug of metal protruding from the top of the body of the tap.

Cursing, I returned to the van to extract a small adjustable spanner from the tool box with which to operate the tap. It took me some time to accurately adjust the jaws of the spanner as it kept slipping on what was a tiny lug of metal, but eventually I had it securely seated and gave it an exploratory push. Immediately the spanner slipped off the lug and the adjustment process had to begin all over.

Realising that I was dealing with a stubborn opponent I pushed the re-tightened spanner very slowly and carefully the second time. It stayed seated on the lug but there was no movement. It was becoming evident that this tap hadn’t been used for some time.

Moving round to the side of the bastard tap (as it was now being referred to) I placed my feet apart to give myself a good solid stance and once more pushed at the spanner, but it was difficult to get much leverage as the small spanner was ….. well small. Despite exerting considerable controlled effort the mechanism refused to budge.

With a string of expletives I instinctively moved further round in front of the tap and grasping the shank of the spanner yanked it angrily towards me. The spanner and lug moved instantly through 180 degrees and it became immediately and somewhat forcibly apparent that low water pressure would not be amongst the remaining challenges to be faced in ensuring that the van had an adequate supply of fresh water.

Once Sue had stopped laughing she pointed out that in this heat my shorts and T shirt would be almost dry by the time I had connected up the hose and filled the van’s tank and that this was as good a way to cool down as any – in more ways than one!