Tales from Wales

Dave and I may be ‘exiled’ in Tennessee, but the only property we own is in Wales UK. And it’s been having a troubled week!

First, though, let me introduce this post’s picture theme:

‘Good Development’


Typically, things go wrong when my parents are in residence! The entire water supply to the property failed on Thursday morning, apparently, due to what was suspected to be a blockage between the main tank which collects fresh spring water at the top of the hill and the first isolation valve down the (long) pipe which leads to the house and barns. This required excavation of said valve, since it is several years since it needed to be used.


My father, who is approaching 70, set about this excavation with some enthusiasm (since he rather likes showers and making tea with the currently absent water) and, since he is a physicist by trade and likes experimental evidence, quickly established that there was no flow below the valve by shutting it and disconnecting the outlet, then opening said valve – nothing!

He then decided that he could establish where the blockage was by taking the entire valve off – either there would be flow (blocked valve) or not (blockage at base of holding tank??) – the problem was, with our scanty selection of tools available, he could not undo the valve connection. Next step, then – call in the utterly dependable local guy that does all this stuff – Bernard.


Bernard, my father was pleased to relate, agreed with the diagnosis and produced two huge Stilson wrenches with which he proceeded to attack the valve connection. My father had presumed that any blockage – frogs (we’ve had those), general gunk – would most likely be immediately upstream of the valve. Bernard’s superpower wrenches release the valve and immediately there was an inundation of water from the holding tank. Of blockage there was no sign – and then Bernard observed that the valve had been in place the wrong way around such that, given suitable circumstances, the water pressure would shut it off. It has obviously been that way at least 20 years!


The bad news is that my dad also shut off the input to the holding tank, in preparation for having to drain it by siphon in order to get at the outlet at the bottom – more than six feet under through a manhole. And, in less than a couple of hours, half of the contents of the tank disappeared without the aid of any siphon. So we have a leak – a new job to tackle in the spring when the weather is warmer – maybe a task which will persuade my parents to insist that we fly over to do the work ourselves (sigh!!).


So the flow was restored, and my dad and Bernard retreated to the house to find – no water pressure. After waiting for nearly an hour, dad discovered that the garden tap had blown clean off its pipe – presumably as a result of recent temperatures of -9C… so we’re bad boys for not considering checking on that little issue more often, especially in winter. As my dad didn’t quite put it when he called (on our phone at our expense!!) – ‘if you own this f***cking place you’d better get over here more often and do some maintenance!!’


At least they got their tea – and their showers: however, the garden tap requires a copper O-ring apparently, and not obtainable at the weekend, so the garden tap is held down by a plank with some of the weights from our barn gym piled up on top of it in order to avoid loss of pressure in the rest of the system. Fun, fun…


I’m not entirely sure what the moral of this little tale is – but ‘he who has holiday cottage can expect many issues’ would not be far off! Long live Cefn Derwen! From our point of view, life in TN has been a little less stressful!


The ‘development’ to which the picture theme relates is, of course, the male physique. Let’s enjoy some more:












cover1-thumbcover2-thumbcover-3-thumbOne thing, by the way: Wales doesn’t appear in any of the three available books or the forthcoming fourth one, but gay love, fitness, acrobatics, and (mis)adventures do. Print or e-books – order in time for Christmas! Clicking on the covers gives more info.

One more to finish today:




About tony

Born Northampton UK
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