The first indication of the problem was when the hot water header tank in the loft began to overflow, something which had not happened for the past 3 years ever since the plumber fitted a new bit.
Next, one by one the toilet cisterns began to overflow even those which had not been used in the past few days, in all as we have eight toilets at the Waterdine, well nine if you count the one in Bumbles Lodge, which unfortunately we didn’t, assuming that as she had not said anything all was well with her world. In the end there were pipes overflowing from all directions, so we hunted in the tool shed for items we though would be helpful, spanners and things, and went to investigate.
Unfortunately our attempts to stem the flows were meeting with little success as each cistern was checked, the water turned off to it, the ball thingy assembly, dis-assembled cleaned and reassembled, no matter what we did nothing would stop the annoying drip, drip, drip, from overflowing pipes. As time went on and the cisterns we thought we had repaired or cured began to leak again, tempers began to fray and dark muttering about calling in “the professional” were being voiced.
It was about now that someone mentioned the water pressure was very high, did I think this could have anything to do with the deluge. The fact that the water was following out of the taps a much higher rate than is usual, I will admit had completely escaped my notice. But suddenly the light came on, perhaps that would explain why every ball thingy assembly, had been full with little bits of grit, why even when tightened as far as possible the joints still continued to leak. In short it might hopefully explain my failure as lead plumber and restore some confidence in my spannerering abilities. Quick as a flash I ran to to the main stop tap, which by coincidence is situated in the part of the restaurant we call the Tap Room, once there I turned the water pressure down, then as if by some slow process of magic eventually all the overflowing pipes stopped and all returned to normal.
That is until 7.30 that evening when Pam informed us that her cistern was now leaking, the one cistern we had not checked waited until we were busy in the restaurant before announcing its intention to eventually overflow and as Pam assured us there was no overflow outlet meaning when it did it would flood her bathroom floor. When I had finished cooking for the evening I changed out of my chefs whites and checked the forgotten cistern, sure enough it too was full of grit which was stopping the seals from doing their job, this was soon fixed. Job done, back to normality at last, we could all sleep safely in our beds in the knowledge that we would not get drowned in our sleep.
Next day Isabel told me that Anthony (her brother and quite a handyman) suggested that as the pressure was high one side of the main stop tap this might create some problems and we should contact the water company to report the problems and to seek further advice. The Water company web site was not very helpful as it only offered a billing telephone number and an emergency number, as I could not find another number and did not think billing would be able to help I phoned the emergency one. When I actually got to speak to a real person (Mark I think he said anyway that is what I called him) listened to my tale of woe and then helpfully suggested we should turn down the stop tap outside the property.
Now that was a good suggestion I thought it would be a good idea if we did this strait away. I knew we had a problem as soon as I lifted the manhole cover the chamber containing both the stop tap and the water meter was full to the top with thick sludge and water I had to remove several buckets of sludge before I could even find the stop tap which of course was in no mood to turn and had to be persuaded by a large hammer, eventually I had to turn it off as far as it would go before we noticed even the slightest reduction in pressure. So the main stop tap to the house did not actually stop the water it just reduced it a little bit. Back on the phone to the water company to report a faulty stop tap, they have now promised to get to us next week to replace the tap, fingers crossed until then.