Decision made on which Water Treatment Plant to go for, the next step was how to install it. Ben and Simon, from the construction company, scurried about the hillside looking for the best place to position the new tank. Not easy, given the terrain. As each new idea got progressively dismissed, for one good reason or another, it came down to a single feasible option. They were going to dig up the drive. Ben would construct a metal frame to go over the tank so we could safely drive over it with the car.
And then came the bit I was dreading. “OK, let’s have a look at what you’ve got now.”
Looking was the last thing I’d intended to do. But in the end doesn’t curiosity get the better of us all? The inspection hatch over the cess pit has always been loose, I’d been giving it a wide berth from the day we’d arrived, so lifting it was no trouble at all. Ben peered inside. So did Simon. Then Mike. And me.
Nothing. The hole was virtually empty.
“How long have you been living here?”
“About three months”
“And used all the facilities, like?”
Ben moved up the hill towards the house and tried to lift the first drain cover he found. This one was tricky. They needed a crowbar. Finally the lid snapped free. The inspection chamber below was not empty. Far from it.
“Simon, can you get the rods..” But Simon was already half way up the steps on his way to the van and taking them two at a time.
The rod stuck fast. It had gone part way down into the drain then abruptly come to a halt. “There’s a large blockage. You were about to have a very big problem.”
Whatever they tried, nothing was shifting. Even with both of them pushing on the end of the rod. Then all of a sudden, a loud CRACK. Mike had been standing close to the edge of the lawn when part of it just imploded. An area close to the cess pit inspection hatch visibly sank and the backed up contents of the drain shot straight down into the hole. Working the rod into the gaping chasm that had appeared in our lawn, Ben cleared a channel right through to the pit. The sound of water flowing into it, as it should, was a new one on us. Where it had all been going prior to this was anyone’s guess. I thought I might hold off digging in the rose bed though. Possibly for quite a while.
Part of the antiquated drain system had entirely collapsed, leaving a section open to the air. The guys had come to give us an estimate for a new installation, not unblock a drain. “How much do we owe you for sorting us out?”
“Oh nothing, we were here anyway.” Just how often would you hear that in London.
But if I’d toyed with any notion of delaying this costly project that possibility had completely evaporated. About as swiftly as had the drain.