Progress update: Three weeks of dubious plumbing

I can’t believe we’ve only been here 2.5 weeks. I just double-checked and it’s definitely true: we arrived in Barking exactly 3 weeks ago yesterday. It feels like months!

We now have running water (just about: look!)

20130731-210901.jpg Although there’s not quite enough pressure to flush the loo yet. 24hr Tesco remains our intimate friend.

J is doing an amazing job of sorting out the plumbing but it’s a tangled job of deciphering and re-connecting pipe fittings with Dutch 16mm, British 15mm and, (my fave), garden hose pipe in the right order so as not to compromise what meagre pressure we have from the massive 1000litre IBC (“intermediate bulk container”) tank he bought last weekend on eBay for £70 to tide us over while we work out what in the name of Jehovah is going on with the inbuilt water system.

During a particularly entertaining exploratory mission which involved stomping about with a large torch in the pitch dark and sticking his whole upper torso into dark holes behind walls or in the bilges and muttering like a lunatic emitting the odd, loud, “AHAAAAA!” – the Owl found a massive grey water tank (P: “nope, definitely won’t be that, the Dutch don’t do grey water… Oh”), and a previously unnoticed but apparently perfectly functional electrical boiler under the bathroom floor. Why grey water but no black water, you may well ask? Why under the bathroom floor, indeed?! Your guess is as good as ours, it makes no sense to my Saxon mind. But it has a working pump AND a float switch, which we both got rather excited about. Even though we’re still not sure what it’s all doing there.

We’ve also had P back over to inspect the electrics and pleasingly it seems we’re already wired with the good stuff and it’s just the dodgy old ceramic fuse box and all the various euro plug sockets that need replacing for us to qualify for the electric bit of the BSSC. Result.

What all this means is that whoever this Mr. van den Dude was who owned it before us, he not only knew what he was doing, but he also took a fair amount of care in doing it. So for all there’s still masses to do: the engine room looks like an industrial graveyard, we have to rush about with saucepans every time the heavens sneeze and we still can’t flush the loo, we may have landed more squarely on our feet than we were expecting to.

Imminent jobs list looks like this:

– Get water pump sorted and pressure up so we can use the loo and start having friends over (fix pipe under sink in bathroom while we’re at it so it stops leaking into the bilge)
– Get (both) boilers serviced and working – hot water (electric) and central heating (diesel)
– Get electrics sorted
– Clear out engine room and see what space we can reassign for new water tanks etc to free up space in living area
– Re-seal leaking port-lights
– Replace and reseal leaking double-glazed roof units
– Decide on stove, washing machine (dish washer?), order and install

Most of these jobs already have the Owl’s name on them apart from the one involving white goods, so I’m currently mid- gender-crisis trying to work out what oily, spanner-wielding jobs I can take ownership of that might balance out the cooking, painting and cleaning I seem to have been defaulting to recently. Watch this space. The problem is I actually really like thinking about pretty colours… Must… Resist…

So when I’m not ordering vintage drawer handles on eBay and Etsy, plotting a trip to Kempton market for all the things we ‘need’ (dining chairs, several sets of steps, a hanging basket chair) or finishing my granny’s kitchen table restoration project off with copper tape detailing, you will hopefully find me stripping varnish from the wheelhouse or wielding a pressure hose on deck in a manly fashion.

You may note that they’re not on the imminent jobs list, but alas I just don’t have the physical strength or engineering knowledge to tackle most of those so what’s a girl to do?

Assuming I can tear myself away from the Little Green Paint Company website. That orange has GOT to go.


2 thoughts on “Progress update: Three weeks of dubious plumbing

  1. Fran says:

    Have you thought about a compost loo? Does away with a lot of problems and saves water. We have a ‘posh’ Separett Villa one, which is so much like a normal loo that friends are happy to use it. I’m with you on the sorting out decor, furniture, bits and pieces, it’s a really tough chore but someone has to do it!!!! Xxx

    • That’s interesting, thanks Fran. We’ve thought about it but been put off by a somewhat fly-ridden, insanitary experience on holiday in France a few years ago. I’ll look up that brand name though, there must be better ways to do it for sure. In terms of saving water though, we have this huge grey water tank so should eventually be able to use that which would be good if we don’t go a completely ‘dry’ route. Thanks for the tip x

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