Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Excuse#6 Plumbing

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I managed it. This morning has been a success. Waking up at 6 is not always good, but after lying there for half an hour and not getting back to sleep I was up and writing. Admittedly it wasn’t the novel I feel I should be working on. Instead it was a bit of a rant as part of my ‘letters before I die’ project. But, an hour and a half later, I had 2500-words that I can go back to and edit, and the half hour in bed got some more thoughts running round my head.

And now, because they seem to be far more interesting, here is another reason for my many failings at writing – drains and sewage.

Having built our own home and fitted everything ourselves we know where all the bugs are. Unlike our last boat there isn’t anything we’d have done differently. Well, almost nothing. Hubby has recently said that we wouldn’t have put the spare shower in. It isn’t much use to anyone as has become the storage area for the washing machine, spare beds (single and double air beds), and spare bedding (winter duvets, summer duvets, pillows). So while we can sleep a family, it has to be a clean one as the shower is always too full of clutter to be used. On reflection, the other thing we might change is the waste plumbing system.

As the original plan when buying a wide-beam was to cross the English channel to France, hubby wanted as few holes in the hull as possible. This meant fewer sea cocks to fail and allow sea water to get inside the boat. (You can see what an optimist he is.) Instead, all the waste water goes down through standard househould waste pipes under the floor to a pump to be pumped overboard. I could say this has worked well for two years, but I’d be lying. The original system involved a sump to collect all the water and a float switch. The fourth time the float switch got stuck, and refused to float, was the last time we spent an afternoon sponging waste water from our bilges. Since the gulper pump (sucks everything through it, no need for a filter) was fitted, we’ve had no problems. Until this week when the water refused to leave the kitchen sink. No amount of cajoling, boiling water, washing up liquid or plunging would shift it. So yesterday afternoon we investigated. We’d already checked the bottle trap (fine) so hubby assumed the t-junction between the kitchen and bathroom waste pipes was blocked. Nope. In the meantime the pipe from the kitchen sink came unattached from the main system.

Much swearing later, we moved on to the only other thing he could think of and lifted the workroom floor to rod the final bend in the system before the pump. And “YUK” is all I can say. After an hour and a half of kneeling on the floor, and ducking down into bilges, stretching our gluts, we had found our problem – a build up of yuk. There is no other word for it. Well there probably is, but I’d rather not think about it for the next two years while it builds up again. Needless to say, much rodding and hot water later the drains were running freely and sweetly. But why did this stop me writing? Well, because, as usual, a simple job turned into something much more complicated and took away my day.


Written by Sarah Ann

July 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

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