There can be few tasks more pleasurable for the homeowner than clearing a blocked sewer.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed to my delight that the toilet wasn't flushing properly. Well, it was flushing all right, but as the flush progressed so the level of liquid rose giving that glorious moment of anticipation where I may witness the contents of the bowl overflowing onto the jax floor.
Unfortunately, I was denied that pleasure, as the bowl would proceed to empty before it reached its climax. Obviously there was a blockage, but in some mysterious fashion, only a partial blockage. I decided to leave it and gave it two options – either let it block up completely or else let the passing of time flush the obstruction.
Neither happened. Each time I flushed, it rose half way up and then subsided again. Sometimes it even flushed normally which was a little strange.
I decided the time had come to do something.
The problem with the drains in this house is that they feed underneath the back yard. And the back yard is not for the fainthearted. I had to spend the best part of an afternoon hacking down small trees, hacking back weeds, brambles and ivy and removing half a ton of old junk such as the garden table and chairs which haven't been used since we moved here, and old television aerials which just sort of got dumped.
I eventually mined my way down to ground level and there was the little inspection hatch. The anticipation was almost unbearable. I gently prised open the lid and removed it and there, exceeding all my expectations was the cause of the problem – the junction was half blocked with a dam of….. well…. I'll leave that to your imagination, but it was almost rock hard and almost completely blocking the pipework. Joy of joys!
I spent a semi-delirious half hour prodding and poking the dam, trying to break it up. It was a bugger to shift. A couple of times I tried nipping into the jax for a flush and a couple of times I heard that glorious hollow echoey "slung" noise as another mass of solid careered off on its path through the pipes, but each time the bulk remained stuck steadfast in the pipework.
In the end, I decided that the only way was to pressure hose the stuff. That meant running the hose from one side of the house to the other through open windows and doors. It took ages to squirt the water as the mains pressure is absolute shit here but I managed in the end. After another hour's work the entire solidified mass had disappeared off on its journey through the pipes to God knows where, probably the local river.
The system is working properly now which is a bit of an anti-climax. I'm going to have to increase the amount of cabbage, onion and beans that I use in my recipes, so that I can once again experience the joys of shoveling shit.
Can anyone think of a better way to spend an afternoon?