"The toilet's backed up."
It's something that happens once every couple of years. Probably something to do with the ancient plumbing here. The answer's always been pretty simple, just pour soda crystals or bleach down it, then go back downstairs and brew up a bucket of boiling hot water and pour it down the pan from a great height. This is usually followed by a slurpy sound and the backup disappears down the tube it was supposed to vanish down in the first place.
Not this time.
I think maybe I was a little impatient, a little too cocky, the plan went wrong somewhere. I did the soda crystals bit, went down and started boiling the water, but it was taking so long I just figured it was hot enough and took it upstairs. The water level hadn't gone down very much, the crystals probably hadn't had long enough to work, but I pressed on. Except, that because the water level was still pretty high I didn't pour the water with quite the same abandon, and all it did was to top up the water level a
The crystals were all used up, but fortunately I'd just bought a two litre bottle of bleach. Ten minutes later I'd poured three quarters of it down the loo and it was frothing away like a little water demon ravaging everything in sight, including I expect, the remains of the soda crystals. We went to bed that night with the bleach still thrashing away and just a slight suspicion that we might wake up in the night needing a pee.
The night passed uneventfully but I certain woke up next morning with a desire to pass wetness, probably because I knew deep down inside that the water level wouldn't have gone down.
Actually it had. It had gone down maybe an inch. Just enough room for a carefully placed number one. The bleach was still at it, I think I may have overdone it a bit. Whatever else happened this was going to be the world's cleanest ever toilet. Mr. Crapper would have been proud.
After breakfast we went out to buy some kind of bigass flexible loobrush at the local B&Q, which we happened to know had a nice big, clean toilet facility (Just in case). After walking around for about a quarter of an hour we decided to ask someone for assistance, naturally all the smiling "Hello, how are you?" people who were walking around when we arrived had disappeared, but we eventually found ourselves someone who wanted to be doing something else who told us he didn't think they had anything, but if this
would be of any use?...
'This' was a twirly thing on a flexible tube with a knob to do the twirling on top. It was for cleaning out sinks. We looked for something more suitable, I found a sweep's brush and a drain-cleaning outfit, neither of which were flexible enough to get around our S-bend. Then mum said "what's this?"
This 'this' was a 6 foot spring suitable for... something and cleaning sinks. Someone had gone right through the rack obliterating whatever the first thing it was intended for with a big black marker pen. A careful scrute of the wording revealed the words 'lavatories and' were the missing links. We bought it and the twirly thing and went off to get something to eat at a place where we knew they too had a nice big, clean toilet facility.
When we got home the bleach had finally given up trying to find things to exterminate. I pushed the twirly thing down the hole and turned the handle. The whole magilla twirled. I don't know why, but I had thought that the twirly bit ran through the cable and came out at the brush end, but no, the whole damn thing was thrashing around down there, unless I could get it down that S-bend it was useless.
So I tried the spring thing, and quickly realised why it was of no use for clearing toilets. It went into the bend then doubled back on itself, it too was useless unless I could get it right into the bend. I rolled up my sleeve...
To be honest that was probably the cleanest water you ever saw in a toilet, the bleach had annihilated everything it could lay a molecule on, the only thing even remotely brown was the froth which it couldn't get at, but it wasn't dead yet, the second I put my hand in that bowl it was after me like a sack of... those things that are even worse than piranhas.
Oh, I didn't feel it eating me away, but I knew
it was, when you're sensitive like me you just know these things. I shoved the pretty little brush thing up the bend and suddenly there was a gloop and the water rushed down the pipe in such a hurry it almost took my fingernails with it. And then how would I play the guitar?
I pulled my arm out of the cleanest toilet I ever saw but that wasn't good enough for me. I scrubbed the arm from shoulder to remaining fingernails with hot water and expensive hand wash, then soap, then I went downstairs and smothered it in hand sanitizer (You know the stuff, the medicated goo that you squeeze onto your hands on the way in and out of the hospital). I am aware of the fact that hand sanitizer is aimed at killing bugs, but somewhere in my mind I had the idea that the bleach, the sanitizer, or maybe both of them, would recognise the other as an enemy and they'd leave my skin alone and fight it out between them.
A day later and I've now gotten over it and both my arms feel the same again except that my LH fingernails are just so much cleaner than my RH nails. I have been down the S-bend and survived. I feel like a slider who got home again. And best of all, I've told the whole story without a single 'Flushed with success' pun....