Monday, 23 August 2010

Damp spreads brick to brick by diffusion

Recently our housing caretaker and myself had a look at some water dripping down the wall at the front of the building from my next door neighbour's
upstairs neighbour's bathroom. The maintenance operatives had fixed the overflow pipe from the header tank earlier in the year, but this leak appeared to be coming from the main cast iron waste pipe.
The wall under the waste pipe looks quite nasty, damp and with lots of insects enjoying feasts of slime.
For some time now my neighbours and I have noticed a bad smell coming from this area but we hadn't realised it was coming from the waste pipe.
However the caretaker and I both saw the water dripping from the pipe. He suggested that in addition to his written report I should ask my neighbour to request a repair.
So today the repair man came out to have a look.
Unfortunately it was raining heavily at the time so it was impossible to notice any extra water, but I was able to ask the upstairs neighbour with the offending soil pipe to flush the toilet a number of times.
Indeed the toilet waste pipe is clearly leaking, and the repair man has now seen it.
Now he needs to ask for backup: a replacement pipe and joints will need to be obtained, as will a dry day, a 2 man job slot as ladders are needed, and some brute force.

It appears that a cast iron waste (soil) pipe may be repaired with other materials:
learn one way

or this site explains exactly how to fit a new soil pipe on from an old cast iron one

A google search using the terms cast iron soil pipe problem leads to the possibility that the problem is a blockage in the pipe which is causing it to back up and force sewage out into the area under the building. This would account for some of the problems in the ground floor flats! Lets hope this is not what has been happening.

Whilst we were all having a look at the leaks earlier today we found yet another leak... this time the daughter drainpipe in the middle of the front of the building which drains off the gutter. It has some small holes in it and is jetting out of the pipe on to the paving. This will have to go on the list of jobs to be done.

The work which was done on my main drainpipe and guttering a week ago seems to be holding up quite well and there is much less water running down the window and wall. I think there will always be some overflow due to the poor design of the extension which was put on the building in the 1970's, which means there is a part of the roof not properly served by guttering.

This sort of issue is useful material for meditation practice. I was sitting in meditation recently and found my mind drifting on to these topics. At first I became critical, telling myself to try to ignore work going on outside the building on the guttering. Then I realised this is just showing me my connection with what is outside. What we do and think, is all linked up with what is outside us, as well as our histories, because everything is linked up. Drains, weathers, metals, materials, people! There is no need to push away thoughts or feelings, just notice them come and go, they will be different each moment!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Guttering and drainpipe

The operatives, M and C, have been out today making adjustments to the drainpipe outside my home.
They have opened up the drain and found that the drainpipe was not fitting into the drain at all. "Its just a dummy!" I heard one exclaim to the other. A "dummy drainpipe" is a "drainpipe" which does not drain into a drain.
The photo shows how the drain cover is positioned a few inches away from the bottom of the drainpipe. The bottom of the drainpipe was outletting directly onto the asphalt, which was effectively completely blocking it from emptying, as if it had been plugged at the bottom.
The picture was taken after the work was completed and shows the mortar where the holes have been filled in the asphalt and the position of the drainpipe in relation to the drain.
M and C had to puncture the drainpipe at 2 points to allow the water to empty out of it, which it did in a couple of long high pressure jets, wetting one of them in the process! They have done something to divert the drainpipe into the drain, which I think involved some new pipework. They also found a large bit of rock in the drain, and 2 tennis balls in the drainpipe, which were also blocking it.

Now the work is completed we just have to wait until there is some more rain, and see if the rain flows down the pipe (which means the work was successful) or off the gutter and down the wall (which means it was not)!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Leazes Park wild flowers

I liked these pink flowers in the wild area of Leazes Park.

I have just finished reading a very unusual and important book, Anthill a novel by the biologist E.O. Wilson.

Leazes Park Wild garden

Leazes Park is probably my favourite park, this part is the wild area, which has decking on it to allow people to walk around an area which would sometimes flood, as the Lort Burn flows through it (maybe off the Town Moor).
Here are some more pictures of the Lort Burn and artwork commisioned for it.

Lane by Framlinton Terrace

The Lane beside Newcastle University Medical School

Sensory Garden, Exhibition Park

I found a seat in the sensory garden, Exhibition Park and had a longish rest. I drank my Alpro chocolate soya drink and watched a young blackbird who was hopping nearby. He was definitely checking me out, maybe waiting for something to eat. He stayed with me for quite a while. He's well camouflaged with the ground, but his yellow eye and beak makes him stand out. The reason I think he's a youngster is his beak is a little large in proportion to his body.

Jesmond Trip

I had heard the Oxfam shop in Jesmond had some really good quality clothes, so I finally got around to a visit.
Very nice clothes in there, much more good quality than the charity shops in the town, but much more expensive too. I did not find anything suitable. Recent fashion for huge and low low necklines is not to my taste as I have no cleavage and do not like to show off all my bare chest.
I also spent some time in the Oxfam bookshop, just round the corner from Acorn Road, and managed to find the Mistletoe Bakery on Mistletoe Road, where I bought a small wholemeal loaf. I liked the shop a lot.
This part of town is so different from the West End it could be another city entirely. I did not hear any Geordie accents, house prices in an estate agent window at £850,000, whereas semi detached houses in some parts of the West End are almost unsalable.
Unfortunately I was now rather lost, as I don't normally stray far from the West End. I asked which way back to town centre, and eventually came to an area I thought I knew, and soon I was in Exhibition Park, where I had a rest in the Sensory Garden. Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood