In time, I pulled myself together and continued my Spanish fantasy. Let me explain. On my 21st birthday my mother came me a jigsaw puzzle of a magnificent Bavaria castle rising towards the skies. On it she wrote, “She painted fairy castles in the air, but I must admit it got her there”. I never forgot that and it has been my modus operandi ever since.
So that is off my chest (according to some ignorant ex-pats, inflated artificially) and we can get back to the finca business.
The house was finished. The pipes were in. A kind of freestanding kitchen was built. The septic tank was commissioned. Actually, sorry, it has a new name now, ‘The Sewage Treatment Plant’. EU regulations.
And it stank. I called the distributer and he put me in touch with an extremely arrogant man in Holland. “It cannot stink if it was properly installed”, he stated, “It’s a Biorock.”
But it did stink, and it so happened that it was not quite properly installed. Soil was entering the primary tank and blocking up the works, so to speak. The filter pipe brush thing was caked in shit and clay mud. But that was because the distributer had shipped me half Biorock, and half generic. There were two tanks at the same height in the brochure, but not in my finca. One had to be cut down and this caused problems. I really cannot blame Carlos. He talked to the distributer and did what he said. Now the rude man in Holland turned around and said that was what happens when you employ amateurs. I told Carlos this. He got extremely agitated, but nevertheless did nothing.
However, good old Felix came to the rescue and made a gravel draining area around the tank with lovely artistic stones, and he even disguised the whole revolting thing with a sculpture of an ibex erected without any cement or internal straps. I wondered whether it would stand, but 18 months later it still does.
The stink improved, but not entirely and it transpired that I needed better aeration through the chimney. The eco whirly bird cap thing that Carlos had installed was not level, did not cover the whole chimney and neither the two pipes in it. It made a hell of a racket in winds. Also the pipes inside rocked back and forth in the chimney, eventually causing the cap to warp. None of this was his fault, Carlos claimed as he only installed what the distributer supplied.
So I took the whirly bird down myself. Another went up, and that came down when the noise did not disappear either. Carlos came back and super-moussed the pipes into immobility, and when that did not work, I imported a proper storm-proof cap from Australia, much to the amusement of everyone. I just could not find one in Spain and believe me, I became an expert on eco chimney extractors! The chimney was re-built to accommodate the skewy pipes and finally it seemed to work. No smell no noise, and a final overall bill not far off that of the sewage treatment plant!
Let me tell you, I have been to stinky hotels with stinky bathrooms all over the Med. There have been days when I have driven into Atzeneta and reeled from the sewage odours. I have even driven down the motorway through Tarragona and smelt crap (sorry – could not resist!) sewage installations wafting malodorously across the tarmac. A long long time ago I spent 4 months in Tokyo on a modelling contract. My everlasting memory is the sulphurous cabbagey stench rushing from every manhole on every street corner.
Not nice, definitely not nice. You want your “Sewage Treatment Plant” to work!