I don’t have any home help in the UK. Having been brought up by somewhat Puritanical parents with a strong work ethic, employing domestic assistance here in Nepal seems decadent, almost dastardly. The thing is that nothing’s a given here. Everything is a little more complex and labour-intensive. Take water for example. The flat we’ve rented has a relatively good water supply – which means that a trickle of water dribbles into our tank for perhaps an hour once or twice a week. We are careful not to waste water but even so this isn’t enough so we supplement the public supply by buying tankersful brought from springs at the Valley edges. It is a matter of phoning a number and the tanker arrives and we pay the driver Rp 1800/- (£13). That's assuming we've been able to find an ATM that will let us have some cash.
I managed to get through to the right number yesterday, after trying for a couple of days and yes they would come between six and seven o’clock.
I wanted to be sure of the timing. ‘That is this evening?’
I waited and at 8pm accepted that they weren’t coming. Firm arrangements are never that solid here so what did I expect? Probably the water man hadn’t wanted to disappoint while we were speaking on the phone.
Then at 6.30 this morning I heard a truck arriving. They had brought our water. It was – after all – between 6 and 7o’clock.