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Pragmatic in the attic

water tank

Imagine the excitement when I discover the rough wooden door to the attic, high in the wall in the oldest section of Badger House. Imagine the delight when I discover that it contains a cistern.

Yes, this is the thrilling plumbing post that I promised Brigette earlier. Sweasel.com is all about the minions.

Houses in Britain are generally designed with a cold water storage tank in the attic. This is filled from the mains (what we’d call the ‘city water’) and in turn is fed by gravity into the bathroom taps, toilets and the hot water heater. Only the cold tap in the kitchen sink is fed directly off the mains.

WHY this is so, I haven’t discovered. Not definitively, anyway. So that individual households had a supply of water in case that nice Mister Bonaparte came calling, maybe. To avoid everyone in London getting up at six in the morning, enjoying a fulsome dump, flushing the toilets simultaneously and whooshing the whole United Kingdom down the Thames some morning, perhaps. Anyway, they’ve done it this way for a long time.

Modern water storage tanks are completely enclosed plastic dealies, but the older style cistern is open to the air. I’m going to have to get a ladder and find out what’s what up there. I might be brushing my teeth and washing my face in mousewater. Yum!

It’s probably modern, though. We know Badger House was without indoor plumbing until as late as the 1960s and major renovations were done in the 1970s and again in the 1990s. As per law for historical buildings, the inlet and outlet pipes are all exposed and run across the ceilings and down the walls. From the time we get up in the morning and begin using water, Badger House gurgles and chuckles to itself as water moves around the pipes.

It’s like living in the alimentary canal of a big dozy beast.

December 4, 2008 — 5:35 pm
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