Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Joys of "Private Drainage" AKA..................

...........a septic tank.
(Health Warning - do not read if squeamish! You may feel ill after reading!)

We've had septic tank sewers in more homes and for more years than we've been on mains sewer. Trouble is that when there's a blockage it's up to us to sort it out (apart from calling out Dyna-rod I suppose).
So there we were on Wednesday morning getting ready to head out to see daughter, granddaughter and then back via Ipswich for Col's regular blood test, when he finds the loo hasn't flushed properly. Lift manhole cover nearest house.............Oh Yuck. Something not right, chuck buckets of water in, no movement. Climb into overalls (him) don rubber gloves (both) and fetch draining rods from shed. Fit draining rods together, shove down pipe. I'm instructed to peer in other manhole near septic tank to see if anything is moving. Well, it is but so slowly and it's not pretty! He chucks more water in, I flush loos, no sign of water at other end, pull out draining rods, find the twisty bit that fits on end, fit it on end and shove down pipe again. I'm at the other end again, still a bit slow. "Can I see end of draining rods?" "Well I could if it wasn't for the s**t!". He chucks more water in manhole. He goes to look at other manhole and decides to chuck buckets of water in there too while I'm at other end shoving draining rods in and out. At last we have movement and whooosh off it goes. Manhole nearest house all nice(?) and clear. Replace manhole covers.
Remove overalls and rubber gloves, have a good wash and try to get visions of  sludgy s**t out of  head.

Now a discussion on why this has, I am NOT using too much loo paper but there is probably not enough water going down drain because we are trying not to use so much water. When we wash the dishes we run the cold-before-it-gets-hot into a jug and use that for flushing loo and we have a short flush function on the new toilet. So trying to save water now we are on a meter means the drains might get blocked more often!
Oh Great Joy!!
The drainage is old, not enough fall from house to tank. Not a lot to be done unless a whole new drainage system is put in - a HUGE job that would be.

 We've  now bought a plunger bit that fits on the end of draining rods so they'll work better! I can see I'd better get used to this job just in case.

Thank you everyone for comments yesterday. I've not seen TV adaptations of any Mary Wesley books so I come to them unhindered by any knowledge of them. I watched Vera before reading any of the books so Brenda Blethyn is the only Vera I know, But I read some of the Shetland series before seeing them on TV and agree that Jimmy Perez in the book  doesn't look a bit like Douglas Henshall in the TV series, he should be dark and Spanish looking!

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Not Very Old Book and A New Book

book cover of Part of the Furniture
 Two books read last week.

First the not very old - actually only 1997 - Mary Wesley's "Part of the Furniture".

Juno Marlowe is an innocent 17 year old unwanted by  her mother and disliked by her Aunt. She has spent most of her time hanging around the neighbouring farms, worshiping two older boys........... although they usually fob her off to the farm-workers or game keeper. In 1939 they persuade her to see them off in London when they go to join the war effort. Not wanting to join up as virgins they use her without her even realising that it was virtually rape.

Juno doesn't want to follow her mother and her new husband to Canada so  waits in London for a refund for her boat ticket. Caught in an air-raid she is hauled in off the street by a very ill man who dies during the night after writing a letter to his father and asking her to deliver it. With the money from her refund and nowhere else to go she takes a train to Cornwall to deliver the letter. Here, because of her knowledge of farming - milking cows firstly - she is made welcome by Robert the farmer and his housekeeper Ann. At last she isn't just part of the furniture. There is much more to the story than that but I don't want to do a spoiler for people who've not read it.

Reading through what I've just written it sounds like far-fetched rubbish! But Mary Wesley doesn't write rubbish as I've only recently discovered. An interesting author who I knew nothing about until reading "The Camomile Lawn" last month. Her first novel was published when she was aged 70 and she then went on to write 10 best selling novels. After a strange upper-class childhood she married twice and was awarded the CBE. There is a good obituary of her HERE.

The new book was by Ann Cleeves. The 8th and latest in her crime series featuring Vera Stanhope. Of course now this series has been made into TV programmes starring Brenda Blethyn it's impossible to read the book without seeing Ms Blethyn in the roll.

book cover of The Seagull Set as usual in the North East of England, mostly in Whitely Bay this time.Vera visits the prison where a corrupt ex-policeman offers her information about a cold case involving  a missing man if she looks out for his daughter and grandchildren. Unfortunately for Vera the people involved were all friends of Hector, her late father, and uncovering the mystery of two bodies, a missing woman and the man now responsible for the regeneration project- who once ran a club called The Seagull- may lead her to things she would rather not know about.

It's quite a complicated book with lots of characters, I shall be interested to see how they shorten and change it when it's made for TV.

Two completely different books, both good in their own way.

Thank you for comments yesterday and I think follower numbers are up again so hello and welcome.

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Things I'm not used to.................

..................... getting up at 5am. and driving an hour and a bit in the dark and then another hour and a bit in the half-dark!

Colin had the sinus operation on Monday and had to be at Addenbrookes Hospital at 7.15am. Getting up at 5 is a bit of a shock to the system.........must be getting old.
We didn't know if he would have to stay in overnight so decided I'd drop him off at the door and go home again. Our DIL volunteered to pick him up if he was allowed out as she works about 35 minutes away from the hospital.
I came home through intermittent hail/rain storms that needed the windscreen wipers on extra fast speed. It was still very gloomy when I got home just after 8.15, we'd had hardly any rain here but then things brightened up and  sun came out and the wind got up. I did get the washing dry - but had to keep pegging bits back on the line.

Then we had the weird weather phenomenon that others have captured on their cameras, strange purple/red sky and the sun disappearing behind clouds of Saharan dust. I stood outside for a few minutes and wondered what our  ancestors would have thought......... no TV telling them about Storm Ophelia and sand dust being carried into the upper atmosphere!

Anyway, Col was allowed home and our lovely DIL fetched him back to their house when she finished work - and I went and collected him from there. The sun by that time was still looking a bit strange and huge, low and bright - horrible driving again.

Eventually home by 7pm, hopefully the sinus operation will stop the source of infection that's been a recurring problem all through his chemo treatment. Although he might have gone through it for nothing because the reason Ipswich hospital wouldn't do it was because they weren't sure it would be of any use! Ho Hum.

We both spent yesterday recovering  - him from the anesthetic and me from the early start and too much driving!

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