Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The drain's a pain

Received a phone call yesterday morning from the guests currently staying in our Holiday Gite; they were having really good weather and enjoying themselves, but were phoning to report that there was a problem with the kitchen sink that was draining away very slowly.

It's at times like this that it's very frustrating to be however many hundred miles away as there's nothing I can do from afar.

Our Gite (like most of rural France) isn't on mains drainage, there's a fosse septique for the toilet and grey water (bath & shower) waste, and a separate fat trap and ditch drain or the kitchen. I'm hoping that the problem is as simple as just vegatable peelings in the U bend under the sink because if it's a problem with the fat trap then it be a bit harder to uncover since the fat trap was accidently gravelled over by the builder earlier in the year when we had the new patio and driveway laid. It's not impossible to get to, just a matter of shifting the stones and the weedproof membrane, just will take a little longer.

Cleaning out the fat trap is not much fun either. I emptied it last year at the same time we had the fosse cleaned out and removing several years of accumulated grease and fat was very unpleasant and smelly. The fat stuck to everything it touched - the kitchen collander I used to scoop it out with (oops got in trouble with the wife for that one), the bucket, me, the dustbin, etc; and it smelt as well, far worse than the fosse which hardly smelt at all. I don't envy the water board people that have to clear similar blockages in London sewers all the time. Fortunately once cleaned the fat trap's worked flawlessly ever since.

Anyway we phoned our local Brittany agents, Cherril and Alan, and they're going to have a look and hopefuly fix the problem.


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