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December 28th 2010    Tim Candler

    If you have been hit on the head once too often, and if you have worked around loud machines without wearing earplugs, then the odds are you will hear noises that are phantom noises.  Best to understand these noises as friends, otherwise you quietly go mad and end up muttering on the side of the road, where little boys throw stones at you, while little girls point.

    In my collection of friends I have an intermittent noise that sounds like a well pump.   When I first heard it I had my head on a pillow, and I was able to convince myself that our well pump was flawed.  I reckoned one of the valves down there in the well had lost its integrity and the pump was switching itself on and off bravely trying to maintain a column of water in the pipe.

     It did seem strange that this only happened in winter, but I told myself it was probably something to do with temperature, and I was also able to persuade myself that it had something to do with water table level.

    Fortunately I thought it wiser to wait until the pump failed utterly before attempting a repair. I'd lie there in bed on the coldest nights, worrying about the waste of electricity, and thinking my way through the problem of lifting one hundred and ten feet of pipe in arctic conditions.

    Sometimes too I decided it wasn't our pump it was distant well pump which through a fluke of geology I had to endure.  I could find myself increasingly outraged by the constant use of water at times when sensible people were trying to sleep.  But at least I had someone to blame should our own well run dry.

    Now I find that if I hold my mouth open and move my jaw slightly to the left this pump noise briefly goes away.  Fairly certain there is a lesson here.  But what it is I am not sure.

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