My pump out toilet has not been working. When you press the ‘flush’ button, water should fill the bowl, you should hear the mechanical whirr of the macerator and then the contents of the bowl should disappear. Water has been filling the bowl and then there has been a conspicuous silence and lack of emptying of bowl, accompanied by the fuse tripping. After a couple of weeks of procrastination, I decided it was high time I addressed the problem and so put a plea for help out on the relevant pages of Facebook and Canalworld.
The lovely people of the internet instantly leapt to my aid, and general consensus seemed to be that the macerator was probably jammed and I needed to take apart the toilet and remove the offending object. (On reading this I sheepishly remembered the half box of gloves which fell in the toilet at last pump out. And the early days when I thought nothing of throwing a baby wipe down the loo.)
Sure, taking the toilet to pieces did sound like a recipe for disaster, but I am past such negative thoughts (and everyone loves a water closet drama). And so armed with vague instructions and a screwdriver, I turned off the water and began.
After draining whatever water I could out of the bowl, I could see a bit of pink rubber at the end of the pipe which looked suspiciously thumb-shaped. I turned the bowl upside down and unscrewed what I thought was the macerator. There was pink rubber all over the place. With a baby wipe thrown in for good measure.
It’s not easy untangling a baby wipe that is tightly wound round a bladed cog with little access space. And it does not smell good. But finally, with the help of a mini screwdriver from a Christmas cracker (the first time that has ever come in handy), it came free in a moment I can only describe as euphoric.
Putting the toilet back together was a comparative doddle (and I was riding high on a crest of endorphins). And then the moment of truth. Flushing.
I watched nervously as the bowl filled with water. There was a pause. My heart sank. The macerator went off. I did a happy dance. Not the fairly happy dance. The really happy dance. (OK, the floor was then covered with water as I hadn’t connected the pipe properly, but that was a minor setback in what was generally a big win for novice narrowboaters everywhere.)
I have gone from being a person who needed help to turn off the water supply to the kind of person who can disassemble and reassemble a toilet almost completely successfully. Hell yeah.
This blog post was brought to you by ‘Pumped up kicks‘ by Foster the People.