This weekend was brought to you by the word ‘dirt’. I knew it was going to be one of those days when I’d washed my hands 5 times already and still hadn’t had breakfast or dressed. I’m not suffering from OCD – I just have mucky daughters, the youngest of whom also has a track record of blocking toilets when left to wipe her bum unsupervised… Give me strength!
Actually, did I tell you about the last blockage? I don’t think so. Anyway, this was back in February, while we were renting the enormous farmhouse that let in water from the living room lintel and that used a million gallons of oil to keep it warm for an hour. So… we were getting ready to move out and were making sure that everything was clean, tidy and in as good repair as it was when we moved in. I was weeding outside the dining room window and noticed what looked like shredded toilet roll on the patio. Um… I followed the toilet roll trail all the way to a drainpipe. With an overflowing drain. Oh-oh… I set The Boss to work with a plunger and some rubber gloves. The Boss toiled for an hour and filled a bin-bag with yuck. But the blockage still wasn’t cleared. So we tried the old synchronised flushing routine that usually works. Nothing. And worse, the toilet that was fairly blocked when we first moved in (so we’d just stopped using it) was now totally blocked. Oh hell. The Boss got out his long prodding rod things that I’d laughed at him buying, years ago. He prodded. He poked. He swore a lot. He thanked his lucky stars for another bout of sinusitis. He filled another bin bag of ming. But it was *still* blocked. He managed to open drain covers and haul out more toilet roll. Yet another bin bag of used, shredded toilet roll (thank God I’m so bleach-friendly – at least the toilet roll was bleached white…). He decided to nip over the fence and ask our lovely landlord if he had any longer rods we could borrow. Lovely Landlord came straight over and offered to help. For the rest of the afternoon they poked and hauled and dry-boaked; they retched and gagged and used a high-power hose. Eventually… hallelujah!… the blockage was hauled out. The Boss reckons they hoiked out years of toilet roll, from long before our time, but Mini Minx must have been responsible for at least half. Anyway, as they were clearing up and hosing down the patio again, Lovely Landlord looked up the drainpipe. His face was a picture as he spotted shredded toilet roll all over the wall, 3 storeys up. I have no idea how the hell it got up there. Somehow the blockage must have been all the way up the drainpipe… and somehow forced its way out… under pressure?! I’m so very glad we fixed it ourselves!
Right, so, now you know why Mini has been told to call a parent when she poos, and only to wipe under supervision. Occasionally she doesn’t bother, and occasionally I get to fish out an entire roll of toilet paper that hasn’t flushed away. Meh! So yeah, my hands get washed a lot.
That weekend we set the kids to work, washing the cars. Well, it’s only slave labour if they realise it’s not a game. I never wash the car and drive down tractor tracks most days. You can imagine the mess… After 2 hours of soapy graft and toil, it still needed a proper clean. At least all 3 helper-girls were still talking to each other. And as Chief Wielder of Hose, Maxi didn’t get too much hassle from her sisters at all. Funny that.
Still, if only we’d waited to clean the cars till the next day – the kids decided to make mud-pies in the garden. At our last home, with its sandy soil, mud-pies were innocuous and cleaned up easily; we discovered the hard way that the clay, non-draining soil here is a different kettle of fish altogether. And worse, it stains. I wonder how quickly Midi would have been cleaned up had we hosed her down first? Oh and those shoes in the picture? They’re her school shoes. Yes. Exactly. I think me calming down enough to take a photo is what saved her life.
On Sunday The Boss did a little DIY on the girls’ bikes. I still haven’t published the draft post from Easter, when Mini went from her balance bike to a 2-wheeler with *no* stablisers in 5 minutes flat, but she needed her seat post lengthened already. And it involved lots of technical engineering work (spanner, little hammer, and BFO hammer). After The Boss had footered around with it, he left a load of metal shavings on the drive. As both cars are parked up there, and all 3 girls spend a lot of the evenings racing their bikes there, he decided to clean it up pretty thoroughly. (No, it’s nothing to do with me being a dragon – how could you accuse me of that?!). He has an old Dyson liberated from a skip, whose parts have been salvaged from various town dumps.
So it’s a real Trigger’s Broom of a vacuum cleaner – none of the original parts, but still going strong. It lives in the garage to hoover up wood dust and chippings from The Boss’s workbench. But no: Sunday tea-time, The Boss thinks it’s a smart idea to plug it in and hoover the drive-way. Back and forth, round and round. He hoovered up dust, metal, stones, grit, insects, grass and dirt. And any lingering ideas amongst our neighbours that we are a normal family.