There was nothing to do but have a new outlet pipe from the septic tank. The chap who redid the drive a few years ago was the man to ask – I’ve known him for many years and he’s an accredited layer of drains and so on, he knows what he’s about.
It was all rather dire, darlings. There’s a T-junction, or there should be, inside the septic tank, which stops any slurry or grunge getting into the outlet; but it wasn’t there. It must have fallen off in the last few years and, as a result, more than water had got into the pipe and it was blocked solid throughout its length. So a trench was dug, the old pipe was removed and then Alan decided that a new soaraway was needed, so more digging was required for that.
By half past three, this was the situation –
They look like plastic crates, basically their job is to let the liquid and any slurry that gets through, which has already been digested by the septic tank, soak into the ground. I had to go out to a meeting at that point, so Tim made Alan and Dan more coffee and they have, apparently, nearly finished the job and will come back and clear up.
My part in the proceedings included opening the field gate, which I secured with a new padlock last year. I had memorised the combination, but – having traipsed the diagonal of a 4-acre field, which feels an appreciable distance when you’re an old hobbling thing, though it isn’t really – it wouldn’t open. So I plodded back again, picking dandelions for the tortoises on the way, and looked it up. I was right. So I told Alan the combination and it turned out to need a stronger hand than mine to press the button. I must lubricate the padlock, it seems.
Anyway, the job is done and, though the soakaway might need extending, the pipe should last to another generation.
I didn’t enjoy the meeting and frankly, by the evening, I was feeling cold and lugubrious. But LT cooked me a lovely dinner and has been entertaining me with charming conversation, so I’m starting to cheer up a bit, especially as I have had a letter – hand written, no less! – from my friend Sheila in Atlanta.