Update: Torture implements and septic tanks

Back from a much needed week’s break away we find there had been a slight hold up in issuing the final architect’s drawings, so we haven’t missed anything crucial.
Just digging of footings for the rebuild walls, followed by the first concrete pour.

More foundation excavation was being completed as I visited site today and there will be a second pour in the morning at 10. If anybody has any, say, “merchandise” that needs disposing of, 9.55am tomorrow at the barn would be a good time. No questions asked, for a small fee.


Solid clay from 2 feet down. Great for foundations, a bugger for future planting of trees.

The fallen bricks are now all reclaimed, stacked and ready for the brickies to start later this week- sadly not many of them cleaned by me as I had intended (bloody Caribbean holiday and bloody quick builders!). All the unsuitable-for-building broken bricks are to be crushed on site and will go into the sub-floor as hardcore. Nothing the slightest bit usable escapes recycling here if it can be helped.

On that note I’m building up quite a collection of *interesting rusty objects. From left to right (size 6 feet for scale) … antique scythe blade, pitchfork tynes, part of a “strap hinge” (me neither) , err chain with wooden slats that could have been part of some sort of farm machinery- conveyor belt (maybe)** and lastly -nope ya got me…either a tool for getting stones out of hooves, or ….ancient torture implement?

* my blog, my rules

** See PS


The next find I do quite like- some pieces of old crate with the supplier’s name branded on, which had been used to reinforce the floor of the hayloft.


In my extensive research I haven’t yet been able to find out anything about John Waterworth Ltd, or what he might have put into crates, but the wood looks pretty old. Definitely dates from the pre-Google era in my expert opinion. Anyone?
Not sure what I’m going to do with all my *beautiful artefacts but they are part of the history of the barn so they may go on display. Probably in the dark bit at the back of the garage.

*my blog, my definition

This week my job(by) is to research and consider the merits of different septic tanks.

Living the dream.

Originally we assumed because of the barn’s semi-rural location we’d have to have some kind of septic tank. Then the architect poo-pooed that idea because we’re not that far from our nearest neighbour’s drains. Legislation says that if the building is less than 30 metres from mains sewerage, you have to connect to it. Them’s the rules.
Now we have realised we’re actually over 50 metres away and we do have a choice so we’re revisiting the original septic tank idea -mostly because the sewer is up a slope and along a road. Mains connection means (colon):

number 1. further to dig out, and not only that – along a public highway, the digging up and putting back of which then becomes our responsibility, and

number 2. connection uphill which involves expensive holding chambers and pumps, not to mention service contracts.

Not a piddling difference in cost, then. In fact mains connection sounds a waste of money and an in-convenience. On paper having a septic tank could slash the price.

I make that eleven unnecessarily childish toilet-based puns now, so I’ll log out. Twelve.

**PS. After a recent visit to a local heritage centre I found out that my chain with slats is indeed a conveyor belt-type part of farm machinery. Gold star for me.

Ours looks identical to the one on a Bamford “Clipper” Safety Chaff Cutter which was used for cutting straw into small pieces to be mixed into cattle food. Probably dates from around the 1890s which is 100 years younger than our barn.


The Bamford Clipper, State of the Art for chaff cutting in 1890


3 thoughts on “Update: Torture implements and septic tanks

  1. we don’t have mains or a septic tank Annette. we have the old well, used as a soakaway, never needs emptying ( i guess one day it might but that’s years off yet). when we first moved local builder said they were 120 or 240 ft deep, he thinks outs is 120, and said plenty of space in it. we don’t have to do anything, all the house water drains in and just soaks through the bricks eventually. no damp spots or smells, you wouldn’t know its there except there’s a concrete cap over and a small ventilation pot. It doesn’t smell even though its only feet from the house. no septic tank bills, no mains sewage bills, house rain runs into another well so my water bills are only £240 a year 😉 Might be worth looking into, septic tanks need emptying twice a year I think, dunno what it costs but once the initial outlay of soakaway digging done then that’s it, no ongoing costs. we’ve been here 16 years, previous owners 13, before that owners were here 25 years and none had any problems.
    Trees: if you need any saplings I’ve hundreds, hate killing them but there’s only so many trees one place needs, and they spring up like a forest. I’ve several oaks that are 4-6 ft high, sycamores, chestnuts, hawthorn, hollies, beech, a few field maple, elder, ash….even a couple of walnuts I think. So if you need any and I’m still here then I’ll get one of the kids to dig them up and I can post some to you if you pay postage. I hate killing them off, feel really guilty.


    • Thank you for the tree offer, that’s really nice of you, I’ll let you know. Love mature oaks, and I did think of planting one in a prominent spot for future generations to enjoy.
      Funnily enough I’ve been discussing septic tanks with building control again just a few minutes ago. It’s a hot topic! We can’t use any type of soakaway because of the solid clay. “No percolation” apparently. We’re looking at the mini sewage plant type of tank that treats it before releasing it… into next door’s garden 😉. It’s pretty eco friendly, reduces bills as you say, and the rhubarb comes up lovely. I’ve never been so interested in sh1t before 😂


      • “Percolation” that makes me think of coffee not crap…..I did wonder about the clay after I’d posted. TBH when we bought this I’d never heard of a soakaway for anything other than small rainwater drainage, and the surveyor** (waste of £800 in 2001!) didn’t know what one was and recommended we get it emptied. spoke to a local builder who does lots of old building reno and he said leave it, checked the space and said tinkering with them unless absolutely nec was a bad idea, they work best left to themsleves with bacteria developing as needed to deal with waste and let liquid flow out processed by it.
        **The surveyor missed the fact that the beam across the living room was in wrong place and not actually supporting the floor above, and the whole could collapse at any time. Big brother found out when he checked under floorboards for wiring…cue emergency cranking up and input of nice solid RSJ. Boxed in it looks fine and at least i know floor wont fall through. Surveyor didn’t check floors for damp because of “fitted carpets” despite the fact the dining room floor is just original floor pamments. I love them, they’re quite thick, the square orangey/red ones, and some where people walked have dipped about 2 inches or so. wonderful part of history.
        He also said we needed new roof at 30K. well, we didn’t get that done til we had a leak finally some 12 years later and it cost 9K, as we reused old tiles, bought old replacements for damaged ones, 150 out of 2000.
        The guy was supposed to be an expert in old buildings, but it seems a waste of money looking back. when I buy my next home I’m just going to get big brother to look it over, he’s covered most building work being a carpenter turned home maintenance guy over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

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