Not strictly true: Z doesn’t really live in the country in the extreme rural sense, it just feels like it, as those of you who’ve visited her will vouchsafe (and be able to confirm at her next blogfest on 16 July).
But I had a small initiation. As you know, one qualifying feature of ‘country’ is lack of mains drainage. Modern septic tanks take care of this with minimal maintenance and, when it all runs (ha!) according to design, rare problems. It just so happened that my visit coincided with not one but two. (I firmly deny any complicity…)
Roses, who lives next door, had noticed a bit of a pong, which she’d very easily traced to the feed to her tank. Well, two of the five senses were quite enough. So Z’s trusty BMWF (as she calls him) was summoned to the rescue. BMWF has, I learned, been an energetic tower of strength (if you can have one of those) around the Zedary for more years than there are. He rapidly ascertained that R’s tank flowed into Z’s, so the latter had to be investigated as the fount (?) of the effluence. This proved to be untrue, but fortuitous.
Because it turns out there were in fact two separate, quite unconnected, blockages, one for each (entirely unconnected) tank. This proves how easy it is to build a course of action on a false assumption – as Kingsley Amis memorably epitomised it, the ‘inverted pyramid of piss’.
Of course, once this had been established, the rest was easy. Just scoop the water and sludge out of Z’s pit, so as to find the outlet pipe; dispose of the sludge; rod the outlet once found; all will then be well.
Except that it wasn’t. I’m tired now, so I can’t go into the details of how BMWF eventually discovered that R’s problem was easily solved whereas Z’s requires a whole new run of outlet pipe to be laid. I’m dwelling on my small country life initiation, which consisted of disposing of many gallons of sludge, in a wheelbarrow, down a couple of rabbit holes across the field. Right, that’s enough dwelling on that.
The sole reason for this post, actually, is to report that, when told this story, Z’s friend apparently remarked “sort of Watershit Down, then?”