I lived for many years in a rambling old Victorian house. The house went back to the mid 1800’s and had in its earlier days its own water supply from a large underground stream and well.
Some time in the early 1900’s the water board had made an agreement with the then owners of the house to divert the water supply for the use of the town, and in return had given a written undertaking that the property, and the surrounding nine house would never have to pay for water.
So the owners of the houses down the years had continued to enjoy their facility free of charge. As I had a large swimming pool it was a nice ‘perk’ not to pay water charges at all.
Then one day a letter arrived from the water board with an account for my water charges. I rang to say there had been a mistake and charges did not apply.
I was put through to a rather pompous man who said that the old agreement had been scrapped; he said their lawyers had decided that the document was invalid because it had only a typed signature and was not the origal document.
He asked if I had any other documentation to support my claim, and I had to admit that I had not, but that the letter had been sufficient for all these years. ‘Well not any more’ he said rather triumphantly, ‘you will have to pay for your water like everyone else.’
I consulted my lawyer who said it would be hard to dispute, as even though the document could be proven date wise it did not have a written signature.
So I began paying water charges.
A couple of months later, I was walking up on the hills with my son.
It was raining and quite slippery, and to my surprise as we walked I saw an old lady coming towards us. She was using two walking sticks to keep her balance, and she had a little dog with her. As we got closer it was obvious that she had been crying. I stopped and asked her what was wrong. She told me that she had taken her other little dog that morning to the vets to be ‘put to sleep’ because he was so old and ill, and she was very upset and concerned as to whether it was the right thing to have done.
I put my arm around her, she was so frail, and asked her if she would come back to my house for some tea. I told her I just lived down the hillside, and pointed to the house .
‘I know that house’ she said, ‘ my friend lived there all her life.’
We went back to my home and in the warmth of the sitting room as she sat drinking her tea. I talked to her about her little pet, and explained that animals like people have spirits, and that her little dog was very much still with her. That he had had a lovely life with her and would be waiting tail wagging, so to speak, to see her when she went over to the ‘other side’.
As we chatted she brightened up, and then mentioned again her friend who had owned the house years before. When her friend had died, she, Miss Henderson, had kept all her friends personal papers and letters, as her friend had no family.
I asked what sort of things she had, ‘Oh lots of documents about the house, things about old wells and water rights’, she said vaguely.’ If you want you can have them’.
So my son walked her home, and came back with a very dusty box of treasures appertaining to the house. In the box was a huge document, hand written and signed from the water board at the time the well was diverted, clearly stating the fact that the house and its surrounding neighbours would be forever exempt of water charges.
I was amazed.
The following day I rang the pompous official at the water board, and invited him to come to my house for coffee and to discuss the matter. He at first declined, but after suggesting he may regret not coming he agreed.
A few days later sitting at my kitchen table, coffee cups in hand I pushed the document over to him. For a while he was speechless, there was no doubting the authenticity of the document.
‘How did you get this’ he demanded.
I replied, ‘God and spirit move in mysterious ways, ways that you would not understand, but they gave it to me’
He looked blank ‘Have you informed the other homeowners mentioned in this document’ he asked.
‘No’ I replied sweetly, ‘not yet, but don’t worry I will’ His face fell; he did not even finish his coffee, but got up and left.
Don’t you just hate bad losers?
I think our spirit friends look after us where they can, I’m sure that old lady who had owned the house was not going to let those water officials get away with breaking their agreement with her and her ancestors.
The house to this day still enjoys its free water.