Friday, 1 August 2008

Those of a Nervous Disposition: Do Not Read

Yesterday we spent much of the afternoon peering down two sludge filled holes in the lawn in front of the wood store.

Yes, we have finally had to investigate the joys of our "fosse septique": two mysterious shapes - a large, round concrete slab with a manhole cover in the middle of the lawn and a crumbling brick supported concrete rectangle off to one side by the silk tree. They've been one of those things about the house that I've eyed nervously and then pretended wasn't there.

Eric told us when we first moved in that the silk tree was so big and healthy because was it growing over the fosse soak-away - too much information Eric!

But we've been forced (or fossed) to face the reality of what happens when we flush. Over recent weeks the flushing has got slower and more gurglely and we spent a nervous anniversary party hoping that not too many of our guests would need to use the loo.

I bought unblocking chemicals, a plunger and a long wire thingy (which I managed to get stuck round the U-bend, so now we had two problems, slow flushing and wire wiggly thing sticking out the loo). I enthusiastically flung buckets of water down trying to shift things along, but in the end had to admit that we needed expert help.

Total France forum told me that what we needed was a "vidange". Yellow Pages revealed dozens of adverts with pictures of tankers (some with smiley faces!) and reassuring messages about SOS and fast response. Picking one at random, our vidangeur arrived complete with tanker and yards of large vacuum hose and high pressure jets.

There was much tutting, muttering and shaking of head. Fortunately our architect was here so some rapid translation took place and we learnt some new vocabulary. We also learnt that the system is old and small, the inlet and outlet pipes are at the wrong heights, the silk tree is snarling up the soak-away and that whilst it might have been adequate for a holiday home (as used by the previous owners), it hasn't been able to cope with constant use. My flinging down extra buckets of water won't have helped either!

Eventually there's a decision to be made about how we improve the system. For the moment, it's just great to be able to flush again without a care.

1 comment:

  1. So many adventures! Good luck with getting this one sorted out ... and wish I'd been there for the opera - sounds wonderful. N xx