Three and a half feet of kidney stones!
Ed Wildgoose who owns Mailasail and hosts our blog page once said that most of the blog entries have boring titles and that I should brush up my act which I have been trying to do lately. Does today's title intrigue?
Yesterday during the afternoon, Lorraine announced she was going to make high tea again with girdle scones (yes Helen, Aunt Daisy calls them girdle not griddle!), Irene had the helm and I decided to go to the bathroom. Used the toilet and pushed the button! Horror it doesn't disappear, pushed the button again, no success, knew immediately what the problem was, three and a half feet of kidney stones. The exhaust pipe from the toilet to the skin fitting gets clogged with scale and like an artery around the heart gets smaller and smaller and eventually closes. The deposit in the pipe is hard scale just like a kidney stone and I now have three and a half feet to get rid of! So to fix it but first the girdle scones and tea and I can tell you I wasn't looking forward to the job. So here is how I spent my afternoon!
Think through the job, get out the tools, layout the old towels, get the paper towels, and a garbage bag, pull up the floor of the ensuite, stow it out of the way, loosen the circlips on the pipe from the back of the toilet, get the heat gun to soften the plastic pipe, pull off the pipe, horrors the bloody thing is under pressure, evil smelling stuff everywhere, slap on the palm of the hand to stop it, the bucket I have won't fit and the stuff wants to go everywhere, call for Irene to help, face is behind the toilet shouting into the bucket, Irene queries the shout, I shout louder, she says what are you shouting for, my mouth in a bucket, behind the toilet, finger in the pipe like the Dutch boy's finger in the dyke, shouts louder still, Irene why are you shouting at me, please darling can you go to the engine room and get the small plastic container, pressure builds up under finger, boat lurches on a high sea, left forearm hits the air button to dry bowl the toilet, pressure behind finger builds higher, eyes tight closed as is mouth as I am not sure I can hold it much longer, Irene arrives with smaller container, I hold it behind toilet and slightly release pressure of finger, squirts into container, the bloody thing has a rounded bottom and the evil smelling stuff bounces right back into face closed real tight and mouth tighter still, pressure eases and stuff is transferred to bucket, pipe comes clear and I now start on the bottom end at the through hull fitting, this comes off easy and now starts to run into the bilge, palm of the hand over the hole, ease the pipe out from under the toilet, don't forget the draw string to get it back again, jamb the pipe into the bucket, bugger it won't bend as it has three and a half feet of solid kidney stones, force it in and then run onto the deck and sitting on the aft platform banging the pipe to clear the solid mess, this takes about 30 minutes of concentrated banging the pipe, kidney stone scale goes everywhere, pipe finally clear I think, ask Irene to have a look through it to see if she can see daylight, you want me to touch that thing? please dear I will hold it just have a look, yes it is clear all the way through, back to the ensuite and inspect the skin fitting, it is solid, jeeze how do I fix this, big spanner undo all the brass fittings, boy they are blocked solid, hammer and screw driver starts to remove the scale but resort to a half round file and file the stuff out, open the skin fitting, heck it is not full flow so there has got to be evil smelling stuff in there, hack around with a screw driver, down on hands and knees to have a look, seems clear, turn the handle, face full of salt water, it is clear! now to connect the pipes again, have some special stuff which seals the threads, bugger it's evaporated and I have to cut the tube and squeeze a bit of the liquid stuff out of the bottom but it seals I hope, all back together give it a test drive, a bloody leak in the pipe at the skin fitting, not enough pipe to cut it shorter and no pipe the same size on board, stuff some of the plumbing stuff in the crack, fasten the circlip over it and tighten, Irene comes to help she mops up some of the evil smelling stuff which is creeping across the cabin floor, OUCH! she's trying to close the door to mop behind it and my little toe is in the jamb, thank you dear I will finish the rest as little toe throbs painfully, bucket is 2/3rds full of evil smelling stuff and I have to sponge the rest out of the bilge, WHAAT! the yacht lurches as it races down a wave, the bucket slips and I now have 1/3rd in the bucket and a lot more in the bilge, down on knees takes 30 minutes to sponge the evil smelling stuff from the bilge, bucket now 3/4 full and I ain't loosing it this time, carefully step into the cabin, what are the waves doing as I now fall across the cabin floor, careful boy keep it level, keep it level, is that the aubergine I have just sat in? don't spill it, keep it level, no its only the red cabbage, phew, out on deck and evil smelling stuff is over the side! back to start cleaning up, disinfectant everywhere and then again, clean the tools in disinfectant and then WD40 to stop them rusting, pack away the gear, have a shower to get rid of the smell, not really successful, call for a beer to be informed it wasn't drink time yet!
Anyway that's what I did yesterday afternoon! How was yours?