The nightmare scenario. You flush the toilet and the water in the bowl keeps on rising, up and up. You watch it, helpless, fingers crossed that it won't overflow and flood the bathroom with unmentionables.
That happened today. The water rose but luckily didn't flood. It then slowly sank again dropping to a lower level than normal. In these situations a strange thing happens. For some reason you believe that maybe the toilet has fixed itself. Maybe it was blocked for a little bit but the fact the water level has receded means that all is now well. What else is there to do but to flush again. This of course is the WRONG thing to. For sure the problem is still there and the water will just rise a bit further the second time.
Outside the real problem was apparent. A horrible smell and the bubbling of a dubious coloured liquid from the man hole cover. It was time for me to don my long rubber gloves and wellie boots and after a short inspection, two minutes, I realised that there was no way I would be able to remove the heavy drain cover. So off came the boots and gloves and after a short Internet search and a phone call the professionals were on their way. Much more my style.
Just as well. When he removed the drain cover we were confronted with an six foot deep drain full to the brim with human slurry. It really is amazing how much waste a family can produce. Before clearing it we inspected the other drains. The storm drain was the most impressive. It must be at least 15 foot deep, with metal steps leading down to what looked to me like the Piccadilly line.
Back to the temporary cess pit and with a powerful jet wash the drain was cleared and the problem sorted. I thanked the man and asked him if he enjoyed his job, he replied, "it's ok, s**t happens.'
I smiled politely and didn't offer hand to shake.