The Hell of D.I.Y. Part II

Right, you know how a blog is for spewing loads of shit, right? It’s probably best if you do not read the post below; especially if you’re squeamish, or have just eaten, or are about to eat.

OK? Don’t read it.


Last chance.

Fine. You’ve been warned. The following is a true story…

Number of DIY jobs Dan had planned for Monday: 0

Wow, that sounds like you had other things planned!: Yes, I did. Quite a few things, in fact. Shopping, the laundry, a trip into town to browse the cheap CDs.

Number of DIY jobs that “suddenly” became important today: 1

Explain please, you know you want to: We have a slightly annoying plumbing issue where the sewage drain gets blocked under the patio. It seems that every other summer, there is a slight eruption in the overflow drain, and the garden becomes briefly uninhabitable until the rain comes and washes it all away. Not a problem in 2012, but a bit more these past few summers due to the more clement weather. I noticed the other day that the drain was looking a little full, and suspicious bits of kidney beans were appearing amongst the gravel. Then, this morning, the kitchen sink wouldn’t drain and there was a worrying smell. I checked outside, and sure enough, the drain was gently overflowing. One more toilet flush, and we’d have a serious issue. But it wasn’t a problem, and I could deal with it. I don’t want to spend £UNWELCOMESODOMY.99p on calling a plumber out because I’m a bit skint right now.

Anyway, how hard can it be to sort out? We have a rodding point put in, and there’s a piece of long and flexible dowling I can shove down it. But not this time. This time, I prodded the dowling in, and… there was a gurgling… and then… Oh God!… Oh JESUS CHRIST!…

So there was a little stuff bubbling up?: Yes. Stuff. A “little”.

Right, so more than a little. What did you do? You are, after all, quite a practical man these days, Dan: Indeed I am! As a result of which, my family think I’m amazing and awesome and heroic, and I have a lot more self-esteem about practical things. If things break, I can fix it (badly)! But the point is, I feel confident having a go.

Well, go you! Did you have to go out to buy things in order to get the job done?: I went out and bought a rodding kit. I also bought some large yellow Marigold gloves and some Elastoplasts, as I had cut my hand earlier getting Alice’s shoes on. That doesn’t normally happen, by the way. Putting Alice’s shoes on is not normally a painful job.

A rodding kit?: Yeah, it’s a number of flexible rods that screw together, with a sort of rubber disc at the end to flush out the pipe, a bit like a sink plunger.

Good thinking!: Thanks! I was just thinking that myself.

So you were all set to go?: Yup, put the rod kit together, shoved it down the drain, problem solved. Yes sir. Problem solved. Nothing to worry about. Everything under control. Yes sir. Noooo problems.

Problem solved?: Yes, problem solved. Why do you ask?

I only ask because the bottom of your trousers are soaking in human excrement: Ah, you’ve noticed that, have you? Well, there were a few teething troubles…

Such as…?: OK, please remember I’ve never used a rodding kit to unblock a drain before. Just bear that in mind, OK? I shoved the rod down the drain, and sort of, y’know, shoved it back and forth a few times…

And?: A geyser of shit erupted from the overflow drain and flooded the garden.

Ewww!: …and it trickled across the garden, under the back gate, and out into the street…

[sound of retching] Hwck! Grbl!: …and when I pulled the rod out, the pressure change made the geyser erupt again. And at that point I stopped because I heard someone walking past, and I heard them say “Jesus Christ, what is that smell??!”…

choc 2

And…?: Well, you know the escape scene from The Shawshank Redemption? It was like that. It was indescribable.

That bad?: To be honest, it smelled like a Welsh seafront on a bad day.

Oh Christ, yeah. So what did you do then?: Shoved the rod back down and kept thrusting at what felt like a spongy mass. The geyser kept erupting, and there was quite a bit of backwards gushing up the rodding pipe, but I felt it was making progress.

Were there any satisfying sensations of the blockage giving way and then the water suddenly draining?: Not at first, no.

Were there any decisive-sounding noises?: Nnnnno

…Really?: Nnnnno

Is that “no there weren’t any noises”, or “ …no, not really”: Yyyyyeahnooo

OK, let’s start again. Were there any noises?: Yyyyes.

What sort of noises?: …just… y’know… noises. Plumbing… noises

OK, now I’m not going to be cross. What noises were they?: Ummmm… well if you’re not going to be cross…

No. I’m not going to be cross. Tell me: OK… well… to be honest, there was a loud bang, and a drain cap in the neighbour’s garden flew 10 feet into the air followed by the sound of raw sewage gushing out of the ground.



OK, now I’m not going to be very cross. What did you do about it?: I thought very hard about going out for the day and not coming back until past midnight.

What did you eventually decide to do?: Um… carried on thrusting the rod into the drain, but a lot more carefully.

And?: More sounds of gushing raw sewage. And the South Wales Seafront smell.

So…?: I went very quietly over to the back fence and peeked over.

Annnnnd?: Well, there was no sign of any gushing raw sewage in the neighbour’s garden

Phew!: Yeah, I know! Except…

What?: Well… I found the drain cap. It turned out to be from the top of another outflow pipe in our back garden, which was hidden behind the rose bush near the fence. It had blown out due to the pressure caused by my enthusiastic rodding.

And the gushing sound?: Well, our garden should be well fertilised by now. I did, however, find the foot-long plug of impacted toilet paper, human waste and rubber bands, that had also erupted from the outflow pipe.

Rubber bands?: Yes, I think I found the blockage, which I suspect to be the result of a prior scientific experiment by my curious daughter. On interrogating her later, she denied any memory of this, but she added “I might have done it when I was 2 or 3 years old…”

So, what did you do?: Went back to the rod and carried on thrusting, this time, with more vigour. There seemed to be real progress. And then, suddenly, the rod seemed to be moving a lot easier.

choc 4

Hooray! So you had unblocked it? Good for you!: Actually no, the rubber plunger had come unscrewed off the end and was now lost somewhere six feet under the garden and was helping to block the drain even more.

What did you do?: Gagged. And then I realised that the inside of my Marigolds were wet, and the Elastoplast had come off the cut on my hand. So I’ve now got Cholera, and my trousers were soaking with all manner of foulness. Went inside, threw the clothes into the washing machine and showered, like, 11 times. Then I called my wife at work to explain everything was fine and totally under control.

Did she believe you?: Of course not. Does anyone believe things are fine when the conversation starts with “Now, everything is fine and completely under control and there’s nothing to worry about, but…”??

Was she cross?: Funnily enough, no. She was very understanding, considering I was talking to her in a funny sort of high-pitched voice. But she made it quite clear I had to tidy the garden.

Or else…?: She didn’t say.

You’re lucky: I know. I’m very lucky to have a wife who is both understanding and merciful.

So?: Went back to shop to get another rubber plunger, which they pulled out of another rodding kit. Had lunch – which was a biiiig mistake – then went back out there.

choc 1

And?: Shitstorm everywhere. And I mean it literally. Thank God I didn’t have the washing out, but it took a great deal of effort not to be violently sick.

And then?: Screwed the rubber disc on, and shoved it down the hole. Take no shitty prisoners. No fear. I did a bit of sick at this point, though.

More geysers of crap?: Oh, lots. Everywhere. And a trickle of ordure that kept leaking out of the back gate. Mashed up toilet paper. Kernels of sweetcorn. Gushing great fountains of…

OK, OK, I’ve got the image. Fuck me, did you actually succeed in the end?: Yup. After about a minute of hard, firm rodding, there was a ssscchhhrrrkk! sound, and one last eruption and then the sound of a drain clearing.

Wow. At last!: I know! The drain was completely clear! Yippee!

And that was it, right?: Oh no, I then had to clear the garden. Remember, my wife told me to do so, in no uncertain terms.

Which meant…what exactly?: I got the shovel and started shovelling shit. Have you ever shovelled your own shit, like a prisoner in a Siberian Gulag? Well, I have now. I’ve shovelled shit. You might have eaten some fine food recently, and for that, I salute you. But today, I shovelled shit.

Where did you put it?: I’ve got some heavy-duty builders’ rubble bags. I shovelled it all in there, with a plan to double bag it, and take it to the dump disguised as household waste. The mess, the blockage, the gravel with all the turds on it, everything. I filled the bag.

And then?: I lifted the bag… and nothing happened!

Nothing happened, eh? Shall I go and check with Sarah…?: Oh all right, OK, the bag split.

OH, JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!: Yup, all over the patio. At that point, I cried a little and renounced God.
I think I’m actually going to be sick myself!: Oh yeah, poor fucking you. You weren’t there! You didn’t smell it!

choc 3

What did you do?: I picked it up and put it in some more bags.

Hang on… you…“picked it up”?: Yup.

You actually…?: Hey, I did wear some new marigolds. Give me some credit!

I don’t want to hear any more!: Then I poured as much fresh water onto the garden to sluice it down the newly unblocked drain. At least, most of it went down the drain…

Please stop!!: No listen, you know that line from Taxi Driver? The one about “Some day, a real rain’s gonna come… wash all the scum off the streets?”, well, it was like that, except substitute poo for scum; and Dan’s garden and maybe a bit of the street outside for the streets. Since then, it rained a bit overnight, funnily enough. Praise Allah!

What did you do then?: Went inside, changed again. Showered again, and again, and once more for good measure. Threw the Marigolds away again. Rang Sarah again. Told her I wasn’t going to do the weekly shop today, or anything else apart from picking Alice up from school and telling her not to put stuff down the toilet anymore.

So, who cooked in the evening?: It was supposed to be me, but I don’t think I should handle food right now. Sarah bought pizza. I ate without much enthusiasm, trying not to have flashbacks.

And now?: Tummy feels funny. And I thankfully didn’t have any dreams, other than of… chocolate fountains.

Well, if you go to any posh weddings in the near future, that’s something ruined for you, isn’t it?: True dat, bro.

chocolate fountain


2 thoughts on “The Hell of D.I.Y. Part II

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