Friday, 17 February 2012

What do you mean, it's blocked?

It started with my wife looking out the back window and simply saying "Oh dear, drain's blocked again."

Again? How can it be blocked again? My father in law only rodded the fucker last summer. Do we use *that* much bog roll?

Sure enough, I angrily barged her out the way and had a look. She was right. Yet again, we were knee deep in sewerage. She told me to leave it for tonight as it was getting dark and to have a go tomorrow. How could I, a proud and violent man, leave that fucking mess over night? No way would I be able to sleep with that catastrophe hanging over me like the Sword of Damocles. Imagine the shame, the abject misery of the neighbours knowing we were living in shit. I thought about those Japanese businessmen that topped themselves during the financial crisis because they could not bear the thought of having brought disrepute on their families. I thought about Stewart Pearce missing that penalty against West Germany in 1990. I was worried about cats walking in it too.

I did my usual trick of getting a common-or-garden plunger and attaching it to the end of a mop handle. This particular drain is about five feet deep so it's not like I can simply lie face down in the shit and reach in. That would be too simple. I put on my hiking boots and started plunging away like a bastard.

Ten minutes goes by. Nothing. Now the back yard is simply deeper in shit and so was I.

I decided at this point that the best thing I could do would be to pour chemicals down there and let nature take its course. I thought back to all the great scientific and chemical minds, desperately wondering what they would do in this situation. Robert Whilhelm Bunsen. He was good. His biggest contribution seems to be the humble bunsen-burner, a great bit of equipment that school children have scolded each other with for decades. I don't think fire was going to help me here though. What about Marie Curie? Fuck that. I put all these stupid thoughts aside and got the vat of harsh Muriatic Acid that I used to strip the brickwork on the front of the house in Summer 2009.

Let me give you some background on this acid. Everybody told me not to use it. They said I was an idiot and that the stuff is really dangerous and corrosive. They told me to get an expert in. They told me to get some industrial rubber gauntlets and goggles and for God's sake to be careful. Even the guy who SOLD it to me - who, incidentally, is dead now - questioned my ability. I did none of these things. It was the height of summer and I had a t-shirt on, stood at the top of a step ladder squinting into the sun as I carelessly daubed this liquid on with a cheap emulsion brush while kids were passing beneath me on the street. The brickwork fizzed and so did my skin. It took six weeks for my wrists to return to a normal colour and even longer for the neighbours to forgive me. This is really nasty stuff and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

So I poured the entire contents down our back drain.

I knew this would need time to have the desired effect so I nipped out for a bit in the Micra and let the magic happen. When I came back my father in law had already been and gone. He had fixed the bastard in about five minutes so I never got to see the fruits of my labours. Lucky for him he didn't know I had poured strong acid down there minutes before. I bet he wondered why his shoes melted.

So here we are with a back yard that is lovely and shit-free. The question is; how long will this last?

I don't know. It was lucky that we had a hose in the back yard so my father-in-law could hose all the sewerage back from whence it came.

Come to think of it, he fixed that too.

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