Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hidden Hydrants

So here's another interesting tidbit for you. Did you know that fire hydrants in St. Kitts are buried 4 feet below the ground? Why, because the Brits did in the early 1800s and no one's changed the "tradition." I just read Live de Life, by Joan F. Harrington (a Rhode Islander who built a home in St Kitts in the 1980/90s and lives here part time each year) and stopped and scratched my head when I read that. She & her husband had had a close call with a fire in her "new" neighborhood and the fire department had to use pool water to try to put it out because no one could find the hydrants. When they asked the developer about the issue, he told them there were lots of hydrants - very 200 feet as a matter of fact. All below ground. shock-3

Apparently this practice took place in the U.S. too, but someone obviously figured out the drawbacks and changed gears. Hydrants are still built underground in a number of European countries (as well as the UK) because of narrow streets and limited space, but I still think it's silly. I mean look at this picture of a below-ground hydrant in Germany. Note the car parked in front of it. According to Harrington, that's what happened during a fire in Basseterre too, when a fire truck erroneously parked over top of the hydrant marker, which meant they couldn't find the thing, which resulted in the building burning to the ground.

Well, you'll note that the new development going up on the Peninsula uses above-ground hydrants, thank you very much. Dogs rejoice! dog-4

Live de Life was published in 2003, and I have to say, much is eerily still the same. The book sums things up pretty well, so if you're interested in life here on St. Kitts, I recommend this read. Harrington's section on crime almost read exactly the same as some of my blog write-ups; criminals being let go for "lack of evidence." I actually could have written almost this exact same book today (well, with some personality differences), things have changed so little. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad...Probably a little of both.

Guess what else doesn't change? Cricket!! The Pakistan-W Indies series will be in St. Kitts from 20-24 May so get out your English tea & crumpets and your 4 & 6 signs and let's get ready to clap politely! W Indies beat Pakistan in the 1st Test series, so let's do it again!