Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A drain on the resources?

On Saturday we unblocked a drain.  It took 7 bamboo sticks, 2 hose pipes, 2 blankets, 1 pair of pyjamas, (don't ask) 12 saucepans and 3 kettles of boiling water, plus half a pot of bicarbonate of soda, a bag of salt, and 5 bolshy and bad tempered Garnetts.  That's us, by the way.
Husband was seen after lunch brandishing bamboo sticks, and disappearing up to his neck in the two drains close to our kitchen.  Each time I looked out of the kitchen window I  could see him, head deep into the drain with his boots sticking out onto the grass. 
'What are you doing?' I asked him cheerily as I came out to join him.  
'Clearing out the drains,' he said, wiping a rather grimy hand over his hair, leaving small bits of suspicious looking bits in it from the drain.
'Want some help?' I asked, hoping he'd say no. 
And so I pulled on a pair of boots, plus a pair of marigolds, and got stuck in, as it were.
Man, it was fun!
There was a blockage between the two manholes (????? sounds rather unpleasant) which needed to be unblocked. 
First of all I got a huge bucket of water, and hurled it down the manhole nearest the kitchen. Then I ran to the other manhole to see if the water came out.
Like Pooh Sticks!
Only it didn't.  Nothing came out, except the stuff that seemed to be on Husband's hair.
Husband started shoving the hose up the drain. 'Grab it when it comes out!'  he yelled, into the bowels of the drain.  
'I can see it!'  I shouted back into the bowels at my end.  As it were.   The ground was all wet so grabbed a couple of old blankets and laid them down at each manhole (that word is not getting any less savoury) so we wouldn't get soaking wet. And grabbed the end of the hose and pulled it through.  We see-sawed it back and forth with the hose, as Husband instructed, removing rather nasty looking bits of stuff, and then pulled the hose out.
'Let's tie a knot in it and put that through,' says Husband.  I look at him to check he's not joking.
He isn't.  He is tying a knot in it, but it's in the hose, not anything rude.
Then he carefully shoves that into the drain,and we yell at each other from one end to the other when it comes out the other end, and repeat the see saw thing, and then pull the hose out.  Even more stuff comes out!!
'I know,' I say, thinking that I am a perfect natural with drains, and maybe I should be a plumber.  'Let's attach something to the hose, and then pull it through,and that should bring out even MORE stuff!'
'Yes!' agrees Husband, and we carefully attach a pair of my pink pyjamas, long relegated to the 'rags' drawer in the workshop.
And then back the hose goes, into the drain.  And we PULL!  PULL! PULL!
Only this time there is a wee tiny problem.
It gets stuck.
Oh. Dear.
The hose is straining so much it might actually snap, and there appears to be no way at all that we can get  the hose out.
Husband is looking Rather Agitated.
I yell at the children to come and give a hand pulling the damned hose out.  And all five of us, (Eldest is in London) have a go pulling the hose.
It is stuck hard.
'I know!' says I.
Husband is not looking very hopeful.
'Let's boil all the saucepans, and the kettle, and pour it down the drain, so that it melts all the nasty fat in the drain!'  It appears that the hose can't get through because of huge deposits of fat along the pipe.
So in we go, leaving Husband up to his armpits in the drain, trying to pull bits of fat out.
There's lots of jolly chat about what will work best, and what saucepans we should use, and who will pour them out and what will happen then.
The saucepans finally boil, and out we troop, four of us with brimming saucepans.  Back I go to get the kettle.  And with a ONE TWO THREE we pour the boiling water down the drain at the same time, and watch with bated breath for a result.
There is no result.  Nothing happens.  Bugger all.
There is a thin drizzle of rather dark looking fluid that seeps out of the end of the drain.
Husband says nothing but lowers himself again into the drain with a very gloomy expression on his face.
'Let's pull on the hose!' I suggest, and we all have a heave and a ho, but the hose stays resolutely where it  was.
'Back we go!' I say, with a forced cheer, 'Let's boil some more saucepans!'  And back we go and boil all the saucepans again, this time loading them up with salt and bicarbonate of soda, as someone has read on Google that this is what is needed with fat in drains.
Out we go again, with the four saucepans and the kettle.  We all say ONE TWO THREE,  and WHOOSH!  Down goes the boiling water, and we tear to the other end of the drain and watch with barely suppressed excitement for a result.
There is no result.  Nothing happens. Bugger all.
That thin drizzle thing happens again.
Husband looks like Eeyore.
We heave a bit more on the hose.  Daughter is convinced she can hear the hose snapping.
'That's not the hose,' says Husband, 'That is my foot.'
'Back we go again!' I say.  Children are beginning to grizzle a bit about the repetition of boiling saucepans and kettles and one of them wanders off to watch the telly.  Middle Son roars at them to come back.
They do.
And so we wait another 7 minutes for the water to boil, and then out we go again.
We aren't very optimistic.
ONE TWO THREE!  WHOOSH.... and down goes the boiling water.  There is a gurgle and then silence.
'Let's pull the hose!' I shout.  My enthusiasm is quite genuine, but I can see that my optimism is not matched by Husband or by children.
We heave.  We heave a bit more.  And oh JOY, the hose starts to move a little.
Husband starts to shout orders.  'Stop.  Start.  Pull. Stop.'
Thoroughly confused we stop and start, and then feel the hose REALLY moving.  And then, with a slurp and a whoosh, OUT comes the hose, and we all yell and shout with joy.
My poor pyjamas.  They are utterly disgusting.  Clinging to them are bits of fat and grease.
There is a healthy sound of rushing water, and out comes the most disgusting display of fat and detritus.
'Ewwwww,' we all say, awe at such a revolting sight.  And we cheer and dance and pump the air.
And after that we clear all the bamboo sticks and saucepans away, and take Milo for a walk, our patient labrador, who had been watching the entire episode sitting on his haunches, with his beautiful head on one side.
Such fun, as Miranda would say.
Am definitely going to train as Plumber.  Clearly very gifted with kettles and boiling water and old pjamas.


Expat mum said...

I am v impressed that you can make so much out of clearing fat from drains!

Clippy Mat said...

That sounded like such fun! I was right there with you heaving and pulling your ratty owld pyjamas through the drain and out the other side. What a great family activity. You could definitely be a plumber, but only on the side, your writing's way too funny to take a back seat.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Hahahahahaha! I love your husband looking like Eeyore.

When I see my husband begin a project, I make myself invisible. Have learned letting him figure it out saves my ears of his swearing and my heart from attacking. Much better wife are you.

Enjoyed. Fun to read your funny tales once again.

Suburbia said...


Leilani Lee said...

Hilarious. I will spare one and all the story of the clogged pipe leading from our septic system.