After getting the keys and associated paperwork from Island West we headed over to Econo (the local supermarket) to stock up on essentials (toilet paper, beer etc.!) and then drove up to the house. We made one wrong turn because a home-owner had painted over a mural they had on their front wall, depriving us of a valuable landmark at a junction!
When we got to the house the first thing that struck us was how large the plot of land really is and how overgrown it had got in 6 months. See before and after pics…

Before and After

Hector, who had been keeping an eye on the place for us, was there when we arrived.
The water & electricity had been switched off for 6 months, so our first job was to get them on, plug the fridge in and get the beer chilling. The electricity was no problem, the water however was a different story. After switching the main valve on – nothing, just the very occasional dribble. The water supply was clearly on at the meter on the edge of our property at the road (we’d been paying our bills after all) and so with Hectors help we started looking for a secondary shut-off valve somewhere around the base of the house. After about an hour of head scratching and calls to Island West we were no further forward. We were extremely hot, dirty and sweaty, and so the thought of a night with no water was somewhat overwhelming especially given how tired we were after 2 days travelling.

During the search I unearthed something in the grass on the main pipe between the meter and the house. It wasn’t a shutoff valve, but on closer inspection, Hector identified it as a pressure release valve (to regulate the water pressure coming off the mains). It seemed damaged and sure enough when Hector stuck a screwdriver in it, it started hissing like an angry cobra and the water started flowing… ahh the blessed relief!

Hector wedged his screwdriver in the valve so we had running water for the night. By now it was 6pm, so we arranged with Hector for him to come back with a plumber at 9am the next morning to replace the valve. After a well-earned (still slightly warm) beer we went back down to the Island West office to pick up our airbed which Hector had stored there.
A shower restored our spirits and we had just enough energy to go out for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in town (a mexican place called Pancho Villa) before collapsing onto our airbed.