Thanks to my editor, MisterE, for the time and effort spent in helping me get this story posted.
In this story there are no consequences from unprotected unsafe sex, no diseases and no unwanted pregnancies, but remember it is a story, not the real world.
Readers from other parts of the world should note that most of this story is set in the UK, and the language is that which you find in the UK.
If any of the words are a problem have a look at http://www.english2american.com, and if this doesn't provide the answer e-mail me.
I took the contract in rural Wales to help commission and bring into service a new gas pipeline as it seemed like a nice job at the time. There were some pumps and other bits of kit which were monitored and controlled remotely on a site in North Wales, I was due to commission the controls and telemetry links. When I took the contract there were supposed to be two of us, lone working and all that sort of thing. However, owing to a family bereavement, the young lad who was due to join me had to cancel two days before we were due to start work, so I found my self on the site, on my own, in the middle of November.
The drive to the site was spectacular, up a narrow valley with mountains on either side, on a road was not much wider than the Landrover I was driving. It took over half an hour from the main A55 dual carriageway that cuts across North Wales. The road crossed the river a few times and went through a small village before ending at the site, at the head of the valley ... The village was marked on the map as Annedwydd Llecynnau but there was no indication of the name on any road signs. There was a pub which looked smaller than my house, what looked like a small shop cum post office and a one room school and chapel, but all the signs were in Welsh. I should mention that this was my first time in North Wales and, although I was aware that the remote rural areas were mainly Welsh speaking, this was my first exposure to Welsh culture.
I arrived at the site mid morning and had a look round. It was immediately obvious that the wiring up of the various components had been abandoned with probably less than a quarter completed. Next blow, when I tried to ring the office there was no mobile phone signal, not even a hint, not even enough to send a text. My personal phone was the same as well, and that was on a different network. My previous happy mood as I had driven up the valley was rapidly disappearing. I decided to spend an hour or so taking an inventory of the equipment on site, and see how much of the wiring and installation had been completed.
This blackened my mood further as the whole job was a mess. I decided to call at the shop/post office, perhaps they would know of someone who had a room to let that would offer dinner, bed and breakfast. Also I needed a phone. I drove down to the shop/post office and found that they were closed for lunch. I took a walk to the pub but had no joy there either; there was a crude handwritten sign on the door, 'Closed lunchtimes October to March'. I walked back to the Landrover and waited for the shop to open.
I saw an old lady turn the sign on the door at one o'clock so I went in and spoke to her. "I'm working at the gas pipeline site up the road, do you know anyone offering B & B locally?"
As I was speaking a rather fearsome looking woman, probably thirty five years old, large and very stern looking, came in. She said something in Welsh to the old lady behind the counter and a bit of an argument ensued. I thought. 'Dont mind me, I was speaking, ' but I kept my thoughts to myself, after all I was new around here.
Anyway, the argument or whatever finished and the large woman said to me, "No-one round here will help you, or offer you accommodation, and you won't be served here or in the pub. We never wanted the gas pipeline, we don't benefit, and when the last people working here went through the village breaking windows that was the last straw."
I was gobsmacked. The old lady behind the counter then said, much more quietly, "I think you had better leave we are united as a village."
Well, by now I was completely pissed off and got back into my Landrover. Initially I was going to head out of the valley straight away but then I thought I had better go and secure the site again as I didn't know how far the opposition to the site would go. So I drove the mile back up the road to the site, shut everything and locked up. I then noticed that the track which accessed the site carried on up the hill, it was probably put in when they buried the pipeline. I wondered if it went far enough to get me near to the coll at the head of the valley as I might just get a phone signal there. Otherwise I could see myself having to drive ten miles out of the valley in the other direction before I would get a signal.
Anyway, I put the Landrover into its low ratio gears and started up the track. As I suspected it got very steep very quickly but was straight and, after about two hundred yards, it opened out near the head of the valley on a flat area where vehicles had obviously parked, worked and turned. There were a few bits of abandoned pipe and a small hut. I parked in the middle and got my work phone out. Zilch. I then tried my personal phone, no bars on the signal but at least it was showing the network so I tried to make a call. Well, it nearly worked! I got the ringing tone at the office but as soon as I moved, the signal dropped out. I got out of the Landrover but this made no difference. I was about to give up when I remembered my mobile internet which was on yet another network. Again the signal was very poor but it did load the Google screen when I started Firefox so there was hope. I then started Thunderbird and sure enough my e-mail started coming though, very slowly and it crashed twice so that I had to reinitialise the modem but it worked. So I composed an e-mail to the office, told them of the problems on site and said that I would leave the valley, find somewhere to stay, and ring in later on.
It was getting dark when I left the site and headed out of the valley. Before I had covered five miles it was quite dark and the road seemed even narrower than it had coming in this morning. The only good thing was that you saw the lights of another car before it was on you so you could actually drive a bit faster. I got to the A55, drove about three miles west to a service area and checked into a Travel Lodge chain hotel. Never have I been so pleased to see bright lights and people. I rang the office and spoke to the boss.
The state of the job appalled him. He said that he didn't have anyone to send and would have to find a contractor to assist. I then told him about the attitude of the locals, the lack of phone signal, the narrow roads and all the other little gripes. He actually said, "Do you want to come back?" But I said no, after all if I walked I wouldn't get paid. We agreed that I would make a start sorting out the wiring, I obviously wasn't going to be doing anything else until that was in order. I actually didn't mind being back 'on the tools' for a few weeks as long as I still got my engineering rate. He then surprised me and said, "Would you live in a mobile home if we sent one to site?" I said I would as long as I didn't loose my overnight allowance. It turned out that a previous project had been in a remote spot and it was the easiest solution to the problem. I had seen it parked behind the factory, it actually looked in good nick, so he agreed to send it to site and asked me to e-mail a list of things to send with it.
The following morning I went back to the site and made a start on sorting the wiring out. I checked my e-mail at lunchtime, the mobile home and my shopping list was on its way, they expected it to arrive the following day. So another drive back to Travel Lodge and, that evening, I went into the local town. found a Chinese restaurant and had my first enjoyable meal of the week.
The mobile home and my shopping list arrived the following day. They had done well, everything I needed was there including a generator and, biggest surprise of all, it was fitted with a small wood-burning stove and someone had left a supply of logs. I asked the driver how much the home weighed, and he reckoned around a ton. I decided to try and tow it to the flat space at the top of the hill as it was a more pleasant location and I should get a net connection up there. In low gear the Landrover pulled it up the hill without too much trouble; it was a straight track. So I busied myself with getting it levelled. As soon as it was levelled I got the wood-burner started to air the place, unpacked the bedding, made the bed up and connected the gas bottles for cooking and hot water. There was a free standing tank for water and a long filling hose with a pump. I would have to boil my drinking water but the stream looked clean. I managed to rig the pump and hose to the stream and started the tank filling. The only problem was petrol for the generator, they hadn't sent a Jerry can, but at least it was auto-start so I could site it away from the home. Anyway, I had enough for now and decided to go to the local town for some food and supplies before it got too late. I found a supermarket and decided to shop for the rest of the week. I then bought five one-gallon petrol cans, filled them and brought them back. Emptying the waste water tank was going to be a problem but other than that everything seemed to have worked out better than I could have expected.
.... There is more of this story ...