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Unwanted water features

The builders turned up on time on Tuesday, and have spent the last three days digging a series of large holes in my garden, which the steel I-beams will be concreted into. They have shifted literally tons of soil, clay and rock.

In just about every hole they have dug so far, they have found something man-made that we’ve had to stop to think about. To start with, it was a yellow plastic pipe at the base of the bottom retaining wall that they thought was a land-drain, but was at too great a depth to be effective. Then at the next level up they came across a whole load of water pipes that were clearly not in use. We discussed it this morning, and came to the conclusion that the two things must be the plumbing for a rather ghastly water feature that was in the garden when we moved in.

There was a waterfall, tumbling from the first terrace over a rockery into a small pond, which was permanently overgrown with blanket-weed. The waterfall was fed from the well via an electric pump. That explained both the water pipes (and an associated tap/stopcock they found which I had forgotten about) and the so-called land drain, which seemed to be going from the region of the pond back towards the well to complete the circuit of water.  Both Chris and I disliked water features in general and this one in particular, so we had the pond dug up about a year after we moved in. The pump from the well stopped working the following winter, and we never bothered to fix it. So I told the builders that they could just carry on digging up the remnants of the pipes and land-drains, and didn’t need to re-instate them once the holes were dug.

I was more worried about the second, inadvertent water feature that became apparent this morning when they hit my water main between the meter and the house. Fortunately, they only hit it with a spade rather than with the machine-driven auger! But even so there was enough damage done to cause it to spring a leak. And this was first thing in the morning, before I’d even had my shower! Fortunately there was enough water pressure left for me to get washed, otherwise I’d have been even more unhappy about it! The first thing I checked when I got home this afternoon was that they had fixed it, as I most certainly do not want a new pond in the garden!

Minor (?) incidents like that aside, I’m pleased with the progress they are making. They are finding it very labour intensive, as most of the work needs to be done by hand. But they seem to be on schedule, and certainly appear to know what they’re doing.