This morning, I had all the plumbing fittings ready for Diego\’s arrival, and ready to cut the pipes for a by-pass.
However firstly we had to ensure that the rainwater downpipe went into the pipe to the Brook, so Diego cut a hole in the pipe, and we filled the watering can ready, then I went down into the lane, and everything came to a halt. The access box to the pipe was filled with water, it was blocked.
I tried my fish tape, but that hit no blockage, we tried using the pressure washer, but that made no difference, I dumped a bottle of the same chemical I used last week, Diablo Rojo, down the box, with the same result.
Marcela, Diego and myself, stood around the box, doing nothing, but looking stupid, until a fellow passing on the \’main\’ road with his cow caused a stir, because it refused to go where it was supposed to, I was getting angry, because he was beating it with a plank of wood, he had found nearby, and the cow was running around like something demented, twice it ran down the track passed us, making Marcela scream and run!
However this incident had the desired effect, after deciding that we might have to replace the entire pipe, which is a few hundred yards long, and would have cost a bundle, Marcela said she would speak to the neighbour, and see if we could find the problem on their land. We knew they had interfered with the pipe in the past, another neighbour told us, they had cut the pipe before we moved in, no one knows why, then joined it again.
I kept out of the way, because the Matriach, has never liked me much, and I thought there would be more chance of cooperation, if I wasn\’t in sight. Sure enough, she let Marcela and Diego go down the garden. This pipe is in fact a 3\” hose in their garden, albeit it\’s only 2\” in the box, and it just runs over the ground, except where they have covered it with earth.
Marcela returned and told me to go down and join Diego, having given me directions. I came upon him stood over the hose, at the point of the cut. You could see traces of water with the white paint we had put in, to trace the problem. Diego was adamant that this was not the pipe, but I knew it was, so went for the fish tape, by this time, I was being bitten to buggery by mosquitos, who were loving the stagnant water.
On my return, Diego parted the pipe, and started with the fish tape…well he is the one getting paid! He came upon a blockage, and kept ramming it with the fish tape, suddenly it came free, and he had to jump out of the way, as the water came out like a jet of black smelly sludge, it was like watching a firehose. I suddenly realised that this water was heading straight towards the back of the families house No.2, and I was yelling at Diego to join the hose again, he just stood there watching the jet, totally oblivious to the water behind him, until I got him to turn, then he moved.
Once the water had subsided, and missed the door to the house, thank goodness, I went and asked Marcela to flush the pipe, at which the Señora came out of the house, I have to say she was surprisingly civil. Marcela flushed the pipe, but there was a second blockage, which eventually Diego cleared.
The decision was then made to ask the family if they would object to a second access box being built where the pipe had been cut, so if there is a similar problem in the future we can access it more easily. This again went to Marcela, and there was no problem with this suggestion, so the is for Diego to do tomorrow.
Back then to the leak from our drains, having been sidelined for three hours. By a process of elimination, which I wont go into, we believe the problem is not under the house at all, but between the septic trap and the access box in the lane, unless we can come up with another solution, that will mean moving all the gravel again, but in the opposite direction, digging down, and replacing the pipe between the trap and the access box in the lane. We think that at the moment the water is leaking and travelling down our side of the wall, until it finds a hole to exit into the lane…. but as you know we\’ve been wrong before!
I keep thinking about that sludge heading for the neighbours back door, I wish I had had a video camera running, it is funny now, but at the time, all I could think about was the bill they would present us with, Marcela wasn\’t in the slightest bit concerned, she said it would have been their fault for cutting our pipe in the first place, I\’m not sure they would have agreed, but fortunately it is not an issue.
So having cleared up, we all had lunch, and Marcela took Diego back to Bello on her way to work, after washing up and having a shower, I nipped down to Copacabana to the Butchers and to stock up at the supermarket for the next few days.