The estimate for the Water Treatment Plant has arrived.

Mike carefully folded it and returned it to the envelope. Then tried opening it once again. The bottom line had not changed: £14,000. We had budgeted £5,000, on the advice of our surveyor.

Maybe we should look for another installer. Except Ben came highly recommended. And he’d already helped us out of what could have been a sticky situation indeed. One thing’s for sure, we can’t leave things as they are. Not with our main drain now open to the air. After he’d calmed down (a bit) Mike got on the phone. For a constructive discussion with Ben.

The ‘compromise’ is still going to cost us £9,000. We will omit the specially constructed metal frame over the top of the tank and replace it with railway sleepers. Mike and I would fill in and decommission the old cess pit ourselves.

“Can you supply references?”

Ben had no trouble with that. “Oh, that’s easy. Your neighbour.”


“No, the other side.”

We’d not even met the neighbours on our easterly flank. They were ¼ mile away at least so bumping into them on passing wasn’t very likely. Ben was insistent. “We’ve just installed the exact same tank as you’re going to have, go and take a look at it.”

It seemed the sensible thing to do. It would answer a lot of questions, as well as give us a second opinion on Ben and his team. But how, exactly, do you walk in off the street.. to someone you’ve never met before .. and ask to look at their waste water facilities?