Saturday, 29 October 2011
The saga of the purring poo pump...
'The Turrets' has it's own working sewage treatment plant.
There, I've said it!
Years ago, our drains went everywhere, vaguely downhill through the graves next door, under sheds, water towers and trees, until they arrived in the woods far away and therefrom God knows where. It was a system that worked up to a point.
That point was reached when they didn't arrive in the woods, because there was a serious blockage caused halfway down this Cresta Run of detritus, well, half a ton of concrete lobbed in from a great height by an unpleasant neighbour usually has that effect, so something had to be done.
After a bit of wrangling, and a little nudge from the insurers, the Environment Agency, the council (oh yes, they had to be involved; regulations you see), and several friendly neighbours further down the pipe, 'The Turrets' became blessed with a brand new state-of-the-art bit of kit, which deals with everything you can throw at it. (I didn't say chuck at it, there are ladies present...!)
But it doesn't always work because there are two pumps in it to carry out various turdal duties, and pumps don't last for ever, (unlike Puff the Magic Dragon), and we had to get a new system PDQ. Even some of the long-buried people next door were beginning to complain, and there was a rumour of a new 'Corpse Preservation Society' being formed...
(I'm only telling you all this, because BP occasionally reads my drivel, and will wonder what I was doing on Friday, while he and BP2 were slogging their way down to Exeter and back, and couldn't get me on the phone... But I digress!)
Shawn arrived after a month of disarray. We like him, he's a great bloke, and dedicated to friendly, good service. He had come to fit the new kit, which is actually a nifty little air pump, which delivers a stream of air to the system to create the microbic environment, and a good time is had by all. There was a little work to do before hand, and Scrobs' back was suitably hurt in several places by digging a four ft deep hole, which we didn't need, but the pump went on like a dream, and began to hum and purr like a goodun.
That's until, Shawn had just gone, and Scrobs had moved the new pump ever so slightly.
S*** B***** F*** it! It was just unbelievable.
Cellphone out, and a conversation started like this...
"Hi Shawn, er... (gulp) bit of a problem, the pump's stopped working for some reason, ha ha ha..."
"Oh, er... is the plug in the garden wall mate?" (he always calls everyone mate, even his wife, which is rather nice).
"Yup, firmly in place!"
"Could be a fuse then mate, try another one, or no, 'ang on, it might have tripped, but you won't know what to do about that... Try a new fuse, and call me back!"
(F*** off, nobody tells me that 'I won't know what to do...!)
"Fine, I'll do that; buzz you back!"
Scrobs runs to shed, to look for fuses; bugger, they're not there, of course, they're inside the house, have to take big Tuscan Tony style boots off, mud everywhere...
A few minutes later, it starts to rain.
Thinking at some stage between the shed and the boot-remover, and realising that Mrs S was due back in half an hour, and she'd be livid if the job hadn't been finished, Scrobs said to Scrobs 'Sod the fuse, I'm going to take the bloody thing apart myself...!'
Out with the screwdriver. Four screws. Panel off. Wrong bit to look at.
Four more screws. Right panel. Getting quite wet from increasing rain. Nothing untoward.
Twenty minutes to Mrs S's arrival...oh hellfire...cellphone...
"Shawn, all panels are off, what next?"
"Can you see the diaphragm each side?"
"Yup, both there."
"If it's raining, you could take it all inside and do this...!"
"Good idea, buzz you back" Escapes to shed...
Screw missing on next panel to come off, assume never there. Start to have bits of pump all over work bench, and getting confused. Peer inside workings and after several seconds, see one tiny glimpse of shiny metal, which shouldn't be there, in a logical sense, because I shouldn't be able to see it if the kit's working properly.
Four more screws.
Aaaaaah, got you you little sod! The retaining nut had come adrift, and the diaphragm was not phragming at all, just sulking without it's nut! A nutless, washerless sulk actually!
Nut turns out to be the wrong size, and had just slipped onto a tiny bit of thread when refitted for the few minutes it had worked, until it stopped, after it had slipped off again.
Bugger, and fifteen minutes to go before the Ferrari Punto squeals into the drive...
"Shawn, found the nut, it's the wrong size, I'll find another one!"
"OK mate, sounds like the problem! Funny that, when I'd put it all together last night, it was getting dark, and afterwards I found two small screws left over...!"
Now he tells me! Can't find a nut to fit, and up-end a huge metal box with several thousand assorted bits to find one, eventually grabbing one and it fits. On like a dream, start to reassemble everything, with ears cocked for returning wife.
Out to the tank again, and plug in. Nothing happens. Cellphone out.
"Shawn, all back to normal, but not going yet, any ideas?"
"Take the panels off, and I'll talk you through it!"
Four screws, then three more, then panic, then small shriek.
"Panel's off Shawn!"
"See the white cross piece? Nudge it with a screwdriver."
Nudge several times, well give it a big shove, but nothing. Keep nudging, and plug in again. Nothing.
"Could be a fuse now Shawn...?!
"Yup, do that!"
New fuse, panels all back on, stops raining, no sign of Mrs S yet. Switch on...
"Yhaaaaaah, all away again Shawn!"
"You've cracked it mate, great stuff, see you soon!"
Shawn's coming back next week, to alter the outflow, and I've got to have built a cover for the pump, as it needs to be kept nice and dry. Now that'll be a doddle, after becoming a credited drainage engineer, with two hour's acute experience and a lifetime's knowledge of various nuts and bolts behind me...