On Friday morning our downstairs toilet started leaking water into the bathroom. Initially the water appeared to be clean, but by Saturday morning it had a faint whiff to it. If we flushed the toilet upstairs or emptied the bath, water mysteriously appeared in the ground floor bathroom.
Two years ago we had the same problem, (see Treasure maps, pee and poo) so using my best Italian, I called the poo man to come and clear the blockage.
Hi, I Pecora Nera, me toilet blocking, you come here yesterday now.
Poo Man: Hi Pecora Nera, How are you, I will come and fix the problem on Monday.
Fantastic. Where, erh When?
Poo Man: In the afternoon.
I told Mrs Sensible that the Poo Man was coming on Monday afternoon and everything would soon be back to normal, or at least as normal as our house gets. I cancelled my afternoon lessons and waited and waited and waited.
Not only didn’t the Poo Man turn up, but he wouldn’t answer any of my messages or telephone calls. Very late on Tuesday he sent me a message asking if he could come on Thursday morning. I knew by Thursday morning we would be swimming in poo. I sent a terse message back asking him where he was on Monday and could he please please come on Wednesday. I haven’t heard from him since…
When all else fails there is always Facebook, so I posted a message in one of the Facebook groups and a nice lady called Jill said she normally fixes her septic tank blockages with a garden hose pipe.
Hmm! All it takes is a hose pipe. I unscrewed the toilet and peered into the hole underneath it.
I slowly fed the hose pipe down the hole and metre by metre it disappeared, after thirty minutes of pushing and pulling, the hose pipe finally stopped. I estimate the end of the hose pipe was some 20 metres down the hole. No matter how hard I pushed or twisted the hose pipe it wasn’t going any further.
And so I sat down and had a little think.
And then I had a wonderful idea, if I suddenly turned the hose pipe on, the force of the water would blast the blockage of poo out of the way. I could then go out for a glass of wine.
And without a second though, I twisted the tap and fired the water down the hose pipe, the result was not quite as I had anticipated. The majority of the poo remained firmly in place some 20 metres down the pipe. But a rather large amount returned back up the pipe and created a rather spectacular fountain of poo, toilet paper and water in the middle of the bathroom.
I will be honest, it was not the result I had wanted. It took me nearly 2 hours to mop the floor, walls and sink and I still had a blocked pipe. I decided I should give the Poo Man a quick call. I am not sure he will ever fully understand the message I left him, but I think he realised I was a little dissatisfied with him.
I sat down and had another little think.
If I could seal the space between my hose pipe and the hole, it might be possible to stop the water and poo escaping into the bathroom, it might actually force the poo into the septic tank where it belongs. And so I started to ram and stuff old sheets and cloth in the hole and around the hose pipe. I then added my weight by firmly standing on top of the cloth sealed hole and asked my assistant….. Mrs Sensible to turn the tap on.
As the water fired down the hose pipe for a second time, I realised I might have made a few miscalculations. There was the possibility that the pressure might actually force a thin but powerful jet of poo and water up past my makeshift seal and hit anyone stupid enough to be stood on top of the seal. Or worse still it might force the poo, toilet paper and a substantial amount of water in another direction altogether and exit out the kitchen sink, or the bidet that was currently right next to my left elbow.
The hose pipe shuddered in my hands and I pushed it deeper into the hole to seal it and it moved, about 20 centimetres, so I shoved it again and again. I silently prayed that the kitchen was not being turned into a disaster area and the poo was really going in the direction I wanted it to go.
I am sure you are pleased that there is an happy ending to this post. When Mrs Sensible turned off the water, the pipe was completely clear. The Pecora Nera house is now back to normal, or as normal as it ever is.