Ancient drains

I’ve just laid 35 feet of new drain from the house down to the pond, and discovered a layer of what seem to be 18th or early 19th century drains, of a type that a little internet research discovers were named horseshoe drains. I have often noticed, whether at Greek ruins or at Norman Castles, that the remains of old drain and sewage systems fascinate visitors, myself included, so the annoying fact that one of our key drains was totally clogged with tree roots at least produced something nerdishly interesting. Continue reading “Ancient drains”

Rat assault 

Just discovered a disadvantage of shallow brick footings: a large rat managed to tunnel right under them and up inside where the water and waste pipes enter and leave the building.

Caught the rat with an electronic trap and filled the hole down to the bottom of the footings with a couple of buckets of limecrete, using lime, sand and gravel.

Had to do it twice more because another rat twice bypassed the limecrete by digging a longer tunnel, partially removing the still soft limecrete as it went. Continue reading “Rat assault “

2012 repairs – pond, well, patio, drainage

New brick patio, with the well protected by a steel over with limestone slabs on top.
New brick patio, with the well and electric pump protected by a steel cover with limestone slabs on top.
  • The remaining pond mud, piled in the garden – perhaps 80 tons – was removed and used for landscaping adjustments, and grass was laid.
  • The well was properly capped with a steel cover, screwed down, on which limestone slabs were relaid.
  • A steel structure was built by the same people to make loft access safer.
  • A brick and stone patio was constructed outside the kitchen with a channel for the power supply and hose of an electric pump for topping up the pond. The flow rates were tested. At the worst of the 2011- 2012 drought, when the well was at the lowest level we have recorded, it produced more than 2 cubic metres of water a day which would be adequate to top up the pond in a summer drought. At other times its productivity was much higher.
  • The shallow trench round part of the house, which had been dug roughly to prevent damp earth lying against the brick footings above the inside floor level, was redone more carefully. A low brick retaining wall was built, the bottom of the trench the was lined with geotextile, and several inches of gravel placed on top. It stopped the damp coming through the lower bricks and discolouring the limewash on the inside of the brick footings.

Continue reading “2012 repairs – pond, well, patio, drainage”