Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, November 23, 2007

New fosse - part sept - Monday: last day, finishing off

And so at long last I'm finally got to the stage of being able to write the last chapter in the story of installing a new septic tank (fosse septique) in our Brittany holiday Gite ...

As finishing my Fosse installation had taken Tony longer than he'd expected it meant that he was starting to backlog with his next job and so on the Monday just Tony and Nic arrived with another lorry load of gravel that he'd had to bring over from his house (where the builders merchant mistakenly delivered it) to finish off gravelling the driveway. Everyone (including our youngest son, Jack, who's 6) set to work rolling out the weedproof membrane, shovelling the gravel off the lorry, and raking it out until the whole driveway looked perfect.

And once the gravelling had been complete it was amazing what a transformation took place. From what had been a sea of mud as the pipework was being laid to then becoming a desolate area of land in front of the house a couple of days earlier, the whole place was transformed!
The photo was taken from the hay loft window of the second house, looking to the front of the Gite that we currently rent out.

Once the driveway was finished Tony turned his attention (and his digger) to the septic tank and pump chamber again. On the Friday before when he'd covered in over the top of the septic tank we'd found that as the top of the tank was some ½m below the ground level this has resulted in some big 'indentations' in the ground where Tony had had to slope the soil down to the tank level.

After sleeping on it and thinking about it we decided that neither of us were happy with the result and so Tony came up with a solution to put some concrete 'extension' tubes on the top of the fosse to bring the fosse inspection hatches back up to ground level. A neat idea which when he'd then reshaped and levelled off all the soil around them meant that the end result looked much better and there was no big dips in the ground level.

And that was just about it. There was the vent pipe to put up along the side of the house, all the equipment to be loaded onto his lorry, and that was it, job done for Tony and the guys. This final photo shows the completed filter bed in the top garden, everything's levelled off and the garden reseeded.
Compare this to the picture of the garden before the fosse was installed and you'd be hard pressed to spot the difference other than a bit of bare earth which the grass'll soon grow over. All that is visible of the 35 cubic metres of excavation is a slightly different slope to the garden and three small green inspection hatches that you can only just see in the middle of the photo.

The final final job was to settle up with Tony for all the works as I'd only paid him a 40% deposit up front and there was the balance to pay plus all the little extra's that had come about during the works. As I think you'll have realised if you've followed all the story we were both very happy with all the building works and apart from the small problem with the ground level around the top of the tank which he soon agreed to rectify we were pretty much delighted.

So the works were all great but what about the price and the extra's? I was a little disappointed with the "extra's" as there were some things that we'd asked for such as the second filter trap and for a replacement fence post (as one had rotted through), but then also we'd been charged for some things that I felt ought to have been included such as gravelling a small area in front of the driveway gates (which was done with the gravel that had already been bought) and €60 for bashing in the new fence post; to together the bill ended up €1000 more than I was expecting, but overall we were happy with the end result.

By the end of our holiday the grass seed was already sprouting on the newly laid lawns and according to our gardener it all quickly turned back into a lush green garden. Can't wait to go over and see it for myself now ...

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