Posted Under: DIY, Funny, James, Living Aboard, When Everything Goes Wrong
Christmas Eve: for some, the opportunity to do some hectic last-minute Christmas shopping; for others, time to go to the pub with friends; and then there are those who spend it relaxing with family. Well, and there’s James, who spent it with his head in the heads and his sight firmly on shite. Yes, the Lavac sea toilet blocked and we were up until 3am on Christmas morning - James trying to fix it, me laughing/crying/passing tools to his godly self (I wasn’t going anywhere near the thing; and he who blocks it…).
It was amazing when James took the pump apart; Lavacs are really simple, and just use a normal Henderson bilge pump, unlike Jabsco’s offerings which are all complicated and full of parts and break far more regularly, especially if you liveaboard. We had done no maintenance to our Lavac ever since we bought Milestone, which was a little over a year ago. In hindsight, that was probably a bad idea…
The pump was TOTALLY caked up with scummy bits, so poor James spent his Christmas Eve with the pump in parts in a bucket, trying to chip off all of the crap that had solidified inside the pump. The outlet hose was another matter: I have no idea how even wee wee made it down that thing! It was completely chocka. We needed a service kit and new outlet hose to get this thing back in action.
Luckily we spent the rest of Christmas away with family so we didn’t think about the toilet too much. But when we returned back to Miley, in this freezing cold weather, out came the bucket - the solid plastic one was already in use, full of brown water and pump bits, so we had to resort to the foldaway pink bucket… that’s right, I couldn’t even sit down on the bucket.
It took a few more evenings of James’ hard work, a service kit and entirely new outlet hosing to see it fixed. One evening was particularly poignant: James had managed to literally cover himself in skanky brown water/bits of poo when a pipe jumped off a fitting with a bit of a bite to it. I had to help him strip down to his boxers, in which he remained to work on it further. I couldn’t take any more (the smell was lethal) so I walked up to the marina facilities and read a bit of All At Sea. A while later James appeared in an old t-shirt and swimming trunks - all he could get his contaminated hands on, bless him. It was the beginning of the cold spell, with frost on the ground and a chill in the air, and here was the dockmaster, off duty, walking up to the facilities in nothing but a t-shirt and shorts. He later told me that he walked past a couple of bertholders on the way up, who did more than one double take, looked at him oddly and carried on walking. I felt so, so terrible for him.
Two nights ago James finally cracked it: we now have a working toilet. I still can’t actually believe it, and have to stop myself reaching for the bucket in the cockpit. It’s an amazing feeling to actually appreciate having a toilet. Sure, we’ve all found ourselves thanking God when we’re in the cinema busting for a pee and finally the film ends and we run to the toilets. But this is different. It’s truely refreshing. I have taken toilets granted for my entire life… but now, I really do appreciate them. I have respect for them. And I’m definitely not going to block ours.
Here’s to the toilet. And James.