The continuing adventures with the cesspit


Hooray our cesspit has been emptied. Not only emptied but cleaned out and certified yey!


I thought that I would share this lovely photo with all of my readers for two reasons:
1. If you want to move to France, then this is the reality, unless you buy a house in a village which is on mains drains. We like to call it “cesspit life”.
2. If I have inspired some readers to have an adventure and see where life takes them, then (and I have always promised that I will give the good with the bad) this can be part of your adventure, not many countries have the good old Victorian drainage system that England has.
Having said the above we have embraced this as part of the adventure. Or, to be fair, this episode was mainly Rich’s adventure as I was not there to help him. But given my last post the boy did good, and managed to get through it all on his own. The story goes like this:
At mid-day last Monday a diminutive French farmer arrived, Rich said that he couldn’t be more French if you tried, he was an elderly gentleman; with a big moustache and a beret on his head (I kid you not!). He had with him a diminutive French farmer’s wife, who had her over the head pinny on, with her wellington boots. They arrived in a car full of what Rich assumed was mud, but may have had other things in it given the story I am about to tell. It was however a good job that the car was full of mud, because the French farmer’s wife asked if the dogs were good, Rich said yes, and as she opened the gate Harley, who was also covered in mud, shot out run across the road and jumped in their car. Bless him! You can always rely on a Welshie to show you up, although given his face you wouldn’t think that butter would melt in his mouth.


The French farmer lifted the lid from our cesspit, had a look and advised that he and his wife would be back at 2.30pm (after lunch basically).
At 2.30pm they arrived back and, as you can see, sucked out all of the merde sitting in the tank. But this was not all, they washed the tank out, washed out all of the inlets into the tank, and shoved poles up them and dutifully pulled out a big dead, what was at some point, rat!!! No wonder the water was backing up into our house! They didn’t care which is something that I love about the French, there they were in there wellies, farmers wife in wellies and pinny, in our cesspit!! Yes they got in it to make sure that it was working properly, and to clean it out thoroughly. No gloves, no masks, no overalls or big white suits that people in England would probably expect, oh no, they just got in amongst the shit and got on with it. Respect!!
The quintessential French farmer then came into our cellar and cleaned out all the tanks in the cellar as well.
Rich and the French language? Well he coped well, he managed to understand that he had to run our taps, and that he had to stop when the French farmer started screaming “cava, cava” at him (okay, okay).
It does appear that we have a very small tank that will struggle with modern day demands, so we will have to consider how we use our water now, and continue to follow the yellow so mellow rule. But is that such a bad thing? Rich has already re-routed our waste pipe from the washing machine directly out, into our chemin, which  will relieve the pressure on our cesspit immensely.
What struck us was how helpful the French people have been to us. There is a sense of community here, but enough space between us all to have our own space, and that is one of the things that I love. It is so different, and so much better to living in my old terrace house in Herne Bay. Although I will always miss our neighbours Jo and Mike, I know that they will agree with me when I say there was no sense of community, and everyone seemed to be on top of each other, vying for space. What with people who felt that nobody should park outside their house to those who watered their plastic flowers and accidentally on purpose watered us as we sat in our garden. (Again I kid you not!!) I can assure you a sense of community did not exist in that ‘cute’ little seaside town.
So although this blog has been about my cesspit being cleaned it has left me with a good feeling, that people really just help here because they want to, they are friendly, welcoming and are guiding us into our new French life, but do not need to live in our pockets, or know all of our business. I love this aspect of our new life.
Vive La France! Especially now we can go to the toilet without worrying.

Thank you to those who suggested that we “do as the bears do”, I don’t think that our neighbours would have been appreciative, but I agree it was something to consider, in fact Rich did (consider not do) at one stage until I told him categorically no!!
So we are now merde free until this time next year, a lesson learned.



  1. Hi Moira – you’ve started my day on a high and made me laugh. And to end the day – PANCAKES for Shrove Tuesday. Do the French do anything similar? xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re having pancakes with lemon and sugar, followed by pancakes and Nutella, or perhaps maple syrup! Choices, choices xx


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