67. Is the Grass Greener? I know even more about drains, sewage & fatbergs

Saturday 25 February 2023

It would appear that we now have a free-flowing sewage system and, having chatted to the very nice drain man, I now have a slightly better of idea of how our system works. For the drain/pipe-clearing and some general checks, it came to £180, factoring in the drive-time and diesel. In the process, I learned some things that are probably common knowledge for people who have not lived their adult lives in rented accommodation and/or flats in towns and cities. For example, that not all of our waste water goes into the septic tank, some (for example a wash basin) probably bypasses the septic tank and goes to the river. However, we don’t know what pipes are directed where but that that, Drain Man John told us, is the normal set-up for properties in remote locations like this. Chris and I have many times commented how readily we would drink the river water as it looks so clear. But I suppose non-kitchen and non-toilet water is likely only to have soap mixed in with it and it is a fast-flowing river. I feel pleased that we only use chemical-free (or at least very minimal) products, but still, I suppose it’s a good thing to know. We are now, unsurprisingly, less enthusiastic about our plan B drinking water supply being to fill bottles from the river.

We are also learning that make-do fixes are not always adequate. For example, there are quite a few makeshift drain covers around the garden. We will now be buying proper drain covers. One area of drain that was partially blocked was blocked by what started as a build-up of small stones, stones which had fallen through the gaps around the slab of paving that was inadequately covering the drain. Another metal drain cover, which had had a large corner broken off, was covered by another paving slab. That cover is on an area where vehicles could drive/park on, which is how Drain Man John suspects it was broken, the cover not being of an adequate quality to bear the weight of a vehicle, particularly a tractor (eg for clearing the septic tank). We will at some point need to go to a builder’s merchant to buy drain covers. Activities and shopping trips like that are yet another reminder that I know next to nothing about living outside cities and towns, and the same applies to Chris.

Slab covering broken-off corner of cover. All mud is just mud – this is not the drain where a bit overflowed!

I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had hoped, but for the house I did adjust the papier-mâché bird that Chris hit his head on, which I had half-jokingly thought might be the only thing I did yesterday in pursuit of at least one daily area of tidying/sorting/hanging-up. Ahem, yes, the list of home improvements ended there. I am horrified that the papier-mâché birds are a feature of not one but three or four posts. What’s happening to me?!

Today, we have three pictures to hang and we’re going to Peebles for an hour-and-a-half talk about the golden eagles in the area. I might dazzle and amaze myself by doing something else around the house. Or I might just sit and read.