my blog

Jean de Florette + the search for H2O

<< Back to Blog

I'm feeling like the Italian Jean de Florette but without the hunchback.

I have an issue that farmers have had for centuries – lack of water.

We need a new well to water our raspberries. In the height of summer, with temperatures over 40°C (104°F), the old well is bone dry after an hour of watering and we have to wait until the evening before it's full again. There simply won't be enough water for the raspberries and they go in in nine days!

So last week, I did what I thought any logical, 21st century farmer would do and turned to science. I looked through the phone book and found Dr. Rossi, a local geologist. The first question he asked was:
“Yes but what did the water diviner say?”
Choking back my Nescafé, I asked him twice if I had the wrong number. Used to skepticism, he reassured me that we would find water and slammed the phone down. Putting down our conversation to yet another strange Italian experience, I assigned the whole episode to the back of my mind. Not finding water was too gargantuan a deal to even contemplate.

A few days later, I was blissfully occupying myself with the mundane i.e. the washing up, when a sinewy, grey haired man turned up at the door.
“Hi, I'm Florio”.
I had no idea who he was until he pulled a twig out of this trouser pocket.
I'm the dowser from San Giustino, he said.
“Come on, let's go and find some water”. His enthusiasm was infectious.
I pulled on my wellies and followed him to the old well. He walked slowly but forthrightly down the dirt track towards the tractor shed. The potholes and scattered rocks didn't bother him, he was completely focussed. I didn't dare speak for fear of breaking our almost mystical silence.

It was scorching hot and we had mountaineered over our rocky terrain for more than 30 minutes, but I was still totally enraptured. We climbed higher and suddenly the dosing rod went nuts. When the rod pulled skywards, Florio had goose bumps and a pain in his left side. Grasping his ribs, he cried;
“This is huge.”
Ecstatic, I glanced around and suddenly realised we had walked for miles. Then as my heart sank and my shoulder's slumped, I had my Jean de Florette moment. We were on our neighbour's land.

Alas, Florio only found a superficial water table on our property. So it's back to the drawing board. Well, actually it's over to Angelino who arrives at 4 this afternoon. Apparently, he uses an old nut that gyrates.  

This ancient way of finding water has me hooked.  So fingers crossed, as I slip into my caftan and braid flowers in my hair!

Share on Facebook
Richard 18/04/2011
Simply wonderful. I agree with Jax, a movie's got to be made of this x x
maureen soch 17/04/2011
charming :) thanks for sharing your adventures....
Jax 17/04/2011
They've got to make a film about your life in Tuscany Kate! Never a dull moment! xxx
Sheila Parry 17/04/2011
You had me laughing out loud! Can't wait to see you in your caftan with flowers in your hair.

Leave a Comment

Name *
Email *
Please write the number code on the image *
  Italian Privacy law agreement N. 196/2003