58. Connecting up

Our services are taking shape

18th January 2015

Today Ford and I connected the pipe that sticks up through the slab in the corner of our utility room to the pipe that pops out of the chimney at the top of the house. This pipe is marked on the architectural drawings as an 'SVP', which stands for 'soil and vent pipe' (if you please). Happily, we no longer rely on night soil men in this country, so the use of the word 'soil' to mean poo is a bit archaic, only retained in the language in arcane technical terms, but that's what this all-important pipe is for.

Soil pipes have to be ventilated to make the traps (U-bends) work. If they weren't, the water and waste going down the pipe would create a vacuum behind it and pull the water out of all the traps in the house, resulting in a serious pong as the gases from the sewer could then flow through the traps into the living space. The U-bend is one of the greatest inventions of the nineteenth century as it enabled toilets to come indoors while keeping the smells at bay (though presumably it wasn't welcomed by the night soil men). 

Although I have been making progress with the plumbing this week, putting in the white 40mm waste pipes for all our sanitary fittings and appliances, we were under pressure this weekend to finish the SVP as the brickies are back tomorrow and our outside privy, sat on top of the manhole in the front garden for the last eight months, had to go to give them enough space to work. With the SVP in place, we could bring the loo inside and plug it in. There's no cistern for it yet, but we have water inside and a bucket, which is all we builders ever need.

Our helpful and enthusiastic electrician, Szymon Berlanga, was back this week, finishing the first fix and installing the fuse box in our utility room. This means that we can now move our electricity supply from its temporary position on a wall at the front of the site to its final position inside the house. So another task today was finishing the trench at the front of the house for the necessary duct, which also pops up through the slab in just the right place. A filthy, dirty, back-breaking job.

Back in Forest Hill, we have just completed the bottom panel of the nine stained glass panels that will rise up our staircase window, so I can end this poo- and mud-clogged blog with some inspirational colour and light.

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