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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Bits and Pieces!

I have to admit that it took me a couple of days to recover from Sundays epic project, age is definitely catching up with me.

However I haven't been completely idle, I had to replace a tap in the downstairs bathroom, I think some dirt had travelled the system and clogged up it's insides, I wasn't able to clear it, so went off and bought a replacement. Now our water system is working 100% again, and everyone is happy.

I then made a new platform for my boys


Both dogs like this spot to watch the world go by, but it is an area,because it is permanently damp is plagued by ants, so a raised platform gives them some protection, the old one had to be removed so that Francisco could break the concrete to find the tail of the pipe to the meter, it fell to bits. This one I made from the recently made Septic trap top, which I have now replaced with the concrete one again, now all is well.

In preparation for Diego's return to lay the new floor in the drying area


I have drilled through the bottom of each post base with a 1/2" bit, I had to do this in steps, the steel may not be that thick, but it certainly wasn't giving in easily.


When Diego arrives, I will unbolt the bases from the existing floor, and insert a length of rebar through each base, which will be set into the new concrete floor and hopefully stop them from moving anywhere.

This morning I went up to see the Boss of the Water Compnay, to find out how much Sunday's work was going to set me back. I had to ask him to repeat the amount of the bill, as I nearly fell off my chair... for parts, including the mains water hope, some pipe, and fittings tha grand total of £25, for a full day's labour for Francisco £8.60, and an apology for the size of the bill, but it was a Sunday! It is times like this that you sympathise with the Labourers over here, I wouldn't have got out of bed for £8.60, I now feel even better that I gave Francisco more than that as a tip. I was asked if I was satisfied with the work and the bill, I think my smile said it all!

Finally having waited for the ground to settle where we had dug, I topped up the trench, and then relaid the gravel...yet again, I only hope it is the last time it has to be done.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

I Just Don't Believe It!

Last night we went to bed, everything was fine, no problems evident, and then bang! ... I got up this morning, and no water, intially I wasn't worried, because our Water Company is local, and owned by all the people on this area of the mountain, albeit we don't receive any bonus for that, and pay our bills like everyone else, but it does mean that when everyone else in the Valley on a National Company supply has no water, we do! I sent a message asking when the supply would be back up and running, and waited.

The front gate bell went, and one of the Engineers was there, it wasn't a Company problem it was us, he showed me our meter in the road, and it was spinning away merrily, we had a water burst, so he cut our water off. The problem was then finding out where we had a leak, either under the house or between the road and the house, a distance of 25m or so.

I just don't believe my luck, or lack of it. Anyway whilst Marcela was chatting to the Engineer, Francisco, I changed into my work clothes. He had told us, he would do the work, and the cost would be added to my bill, I wasn't arguing with that, it was Sunday after all, and I wouldn't have got anyone else, and we didn't have so much as a drop of water.

So where do we start, first is was open up under the house for the third time.



This hole had the pipes to the old kitchen, and was the obvious place to start as it was the natural beginning of the line, but the access and view under the house is limited. I said there was a 'T' joint there, but Francisco was adamant that it was an 'L', so wouldn't have gone out of the front of the house into the garden.

That left us little option


Just the thought of shifting all that gravel yet again... but it had to be done, to make things a little easier, I suggested that we move the gravel along the white wall in front of the house, that was where I had installed the land drain, so we shifted the gravel, and filter, then the land drain, this took us down about 15", then it was time to start digging. Francisco would do a stretch, then we changed places whilst he had a break,a short one... then he resumed, well he is at least half my age!


We kept going down, but found nothing, then Marcela had this brilliant idea that it could be under the path at the end of the ditch, so I cut it out, using a disc cutter.


We found another pipe, but not the one we were looking for, unfortunately Francisco put the pry bar straight though it, so I had to do a running repair, which is why you see the yellow pipe stuck over the holes.

Marcela then came up with the idea of ringing the person we bought the finca off, he said the pipe ran from the road, under my now workshop, and straight down the garden to the old kitchen, but it was buried deep.

It was back to work for Francisco and myself, whilst Marcela kept us supplied with drinks.



We took it down to 1.5m and nothing, by this time, we had both had enough, but unless we could find where the pipe entered the house, we were snookered, as we couldn't seal off the damaged area and attach new.

I again queried the union under the house, I was still convinced it could be a 'T' so Francisco lay down at the hole and started chopping the concrete again.

Sure enough it was a 'T' union, if we had found that earlier, we could have saved ourselves a lot of backbreaking work, but that's life!

Francisco said we would lay a hose, not a rigid pipe, as on the mountain this was now the norm, with all the land movement, this is laid above ground where possible, to avoid future problems.

Having cut the pipe and turned on the water to confirm none was reaching the house, which it wasn't, Francisco went off to get the hose and bits he needed.

In the mean time I started filling in the trench again, with soil and rubble. This time I am going to leave it a few days to settle, before topping it with gravel, because my previous work has sunk, taking the gravel with it. I still have sacks of rubble, so will be able to top up where needed.

I then cut a channel for the hose to sit in from the garden to the house


This wont be a problem because it is where I am having the new concrete floor, and tiles.

For me there was one problem I couldn't get my head round, how to get the hose passed my workshop, if it was squeezed between the wire fence, and the workshop wall, which was possible, it was vunerable, anyone could stick a knife into it.

No problem for Francisco, we took the hose up the flowerbed from the house to the workshop, then straight up the wall of the workshop, and wedged under the first row of tiles,


over the roof and down the other side, bingo, done and safe!



The hose was connected up at both ends


We now have water again. by the time Marcela and I had finished cleaning up it was after 5pm, and I was fit for nothing, I'm still not. Part of that is my fault, because this morning, with all that was going on, I forgot to take my medication, I saw it on the desk when I finally got upstairs for a shower...Oops!

One has to wonder what this Finca has in store for us next, as long as it doesn't involve shifting that gravel again, I don't care.

Before you ask, no, I didn't re-install the land drain, Francisco didn't think there was a need for it, so I have 6m of 3" pipe full of holes, I'll keep it, I can always cut it up into sections for repair jobs in the future.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Something Went Right For A Change.

Having worried about the water leak in the bathroom, and wondering whether it would be a better idea to get a Professional in, I thought about most Colombian Professionals, and decided I could do it myself!

So after Marcela had left for work, I removed the bathroom sink, before I damaged it, and then cleaned off all the epoxy and other mixtures I had tried, in my attempts to seal the leak, the fact that it was easy


to do, showed me what a failure the attempts had been. I used thinners to clean the pipe, there was probably a little less than half an inch of pipe sticking out of the wall, after turning of the water in the road, using a hack saw, I carefully cut at the first joint from the wall, which was the offending one, if I had made a mess of that, it meant no water, until I had broken into the wall and fixed the job.

Fortunately, all went well, so I sanded the cut, and then applied special PVC glue Diego had left me, which will set even if wet, and attached a new fitting, this would give me more space, as previously there were two fittings. I then left it to set for half an hour.


Before assembling the tap fitting, so as not to disturb the joint.


Then it was time to replace the sink and waste


That done I went back out into the road, and turned the water back on, but at low pressure, and ran back to the house, in case there was a flood, I needn't have worried, it was totally dry, and has remained so ever since...job done!