Little machines for big jobs

The sewer repair began last week with manual digging to find the sewer join. This is where the newer PVC pipe meets the older clay or terracotta pipe. A camera probe early this year revealed earthquake damage in the old pipe. It has been a long wait for the work to begin.

A further complication was coordinating the pipe lining once the initial digging had been done. The pipe liners turned up first thing on Monday without warning. There was time for one shower, after which there was no use of toilet or sinks. This experience was a reminder of how to conserve water. I brushed my teeth in the garden using half a glass of water. The local pub proved useful for a mid-morning toilet visit. Mum held on with the forbearance of the late Queen, until my sister pointed out that you could use the toilet as long as you didn’t flush. It was a matter of keeping your mind on the job and not pushing the button out of habit.

The pipe lining is ingenious. It was invented by Eric Wood in London in 1971 apparently, when he was faced with difficult repairs to a sewer pipe. The invention has saved my drive and garden from being dug up. Instead, the lining is fitted into the old pipe and inflated.

A variety of intriguing little machines were used in the process. The grey one in the distance (above) was used to inflate the lining.

This one emitted little puffs of smoke, like the little engine that could. I think it is a generator – although they used a power connection in the garage. What is the blue machine for?

Later, a larger machine appeared in the drive. It was big enough to have its own trailer, and is an air compressor (I asked).

This morning the chimney sweep came with a very tidy little vacuum machine.

Usually we have finished using the log burner for the year before we have it cleaned. Today’s news, however, tells us to expect a cold blast direct from the Antarctic ice sheet.