The west wall, the windy alley
and the sewarage system.

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According to the building regs. it should be self-cleansing at 1:50.

The West Wall (2002)

This was one of the first major undertakings. The wall was in very poor condition with most of the render falling off and in places, from inside, you could actually see daylight through the wall that was over 2ft thick.

It took most of the summer and into the autumn. I think I ordered 5 tonnes of sand and used it all.

While in the process I removed a large amount of soil that had been piled up against the wall almost up to the window ledge and also removed a vast amount of rubble from what we called the ‘windy alley’.

Part of the work involved the replacement of the lintel over the window and also changing the window opening into a door into the garden that turned out to be quite easy as it had clearly been a door in a previous incarnation.

The replacement of the lintel gave rise to the following amusing anecdote. John Hall (the Reverend John Hall our son-in-law’s father) was staying with us and I was about to remove and replace the lintel. I had not really thought it through but I had pointed up the stonework above the lintel and that was now fairly stable and my first thought I could reasonably, safely remove the lintel without the whole lot collapsing. This led to a comment from John that roughly went as follows.

“John” he said, “you are going to remove that lintel from the wall, that holds this side of the house up, without any visible means of support and you don't believe in God! You need some help here mate. You take the lintel out and I will kneel down here and pray!”

I hired a couple of Acrow props as it turned out!

The beginning

Nearly finished
and the old dog.

I removed a lot of soil here and
the hole beneath the window was
the underfloor ventialtion that
had long since been ineffective.

Almost there.

The sewereage system (2003)

This was another fairly big undertaking.

The previous Easter there had been a panic when the septic tank started overflowing. The overflow from the septic tank to the soak-away was just a collection of odd bits of pipe that had been fractured and generally crushed and were totally ineffective. A new length of sewer pipe solved the problem but in the process the sorry state of the septic tank became evident. It was a traditional brick lined chamber with an overflow. The ‘roof’ of the tank though was in a state of collapse so this was rebuilt with a fair bit of reinforcing and the original manhole cover re-installed.

However I intended to build another upstairs toilet and bathroom and this was the time to generally improve the system. I also wanted an additional link to the kitchen, in case I ever wanted to relocate the sink, and I installed a pipe to the south-west corner of the house. This also took rainwater from a drain pipe to the front of the house that previoously just discharged against the house wall and did not help with the general penetrating damp problem.

I had removed a large volume of rubble from the ‘windy alley’ the previous year and now laid pipe work along the length of the alley, with a rodding eye at the far end of the run and a couple of access point for toilet and bathroom waste.

The pictures tell the story.

A new 'roof' to theseptic tank.

Pipe work

More pipe work.

A new junction


Excavation into the 'windy alley'
that in part was through solid rock

Conection an pipe work to toilet and vent.

Cemented up

Connection into the old system

The 'windy alley'

It's name tells all. It was just a rubble filled passage but now it had a concrete floor and doors at each end.


The rubble was just up to the
level of the ledge on the right.

Door frame

Job done!


The new garden door (2004) now the door to the conservatory.

As mentioned above there had been a door here previously so it was quite easy to open up a ‘new’ door way. Sam Crompton made the door and I fitted it while I was working on the back parlour. And by-the-way the underfloor ventilation was improved and extended.


The aperture

The new door