Bathroom Battles

About a week ago Kevin went into the kitchen and declared we’d had a visitor in the night. A slug of some description had left silver trails all over the washed up bread board. We both had a search around the windows, wondering how (and why) it came in.

On Wednesday morning I was washing up when I went to rinse something off in the small, second sink between the dish drainer tray and large sink. There, happily making their way out of the plug hole, pushing the sink strainer out of the way, were two Limax Flavus. Yes, two slugs about 3cm in length each had entered our territory! I had stood on one a few weeks prior and it was so revolting that I was absolutely disgusted to find them in such close proximity to my clean dishes. So I promptly ran the hot water down the plug hole, followed by half a kg of salt also down for good measure.

When I got to work I did some investigation (eg. I googled drains and slugs) and discovered this article and this one. This is the bit that got me:

“Slugs have a strong homing instinct, foraging in the damp night air and spending the deadly desiccating daylight hours in a cool, moist retreat. Robinson provided his new staff with comfortable lodgings in the shape of a little ceramic pot perforated with stars and crescent moons–the sort more usually used to waft perfumed oils around the place. “They soon learnt that was home,” he says. Each night, the slugs crawled out of the moons and stars and slithered off on their fungal foray. At daybreak, they crept home where they were safe from bare feet and torrents of hot water. In the breeding season, the slugs took a break from housework, heading down the drain and out of the vent pipe to seek a mate in the garden. After a brief romantic interlude, some came back, unable to resist Robinson’s increasingly furry shower curtain. Those that failed to return were replaced with new recruits from the garden.”

Basically, if Kevin I could stomach it, we could have slugs living in a piece of earthenware in the bathroom and they would come out at night and eat the growing mould. There are aspects of this that appeal, especially if I don’t have to see them in the daytime. However, the fear that they will wander out of the bath and onto the floor, me in the middle of the night = squish, means I don’t think it will really be such a good idea.

However, one aspect of the second article did appeal

“Roaches a problem–for other people,” says Robinson. His house is so well protected, he sees about one cockroach a month. The first line of defence is a colony of leaf-tailed geckos–prickly-looking lizards with flat, leaf-shaped tails. These particular geckos don’t have sticky feet and can only cling by their claws to rough surfaces. They live outside on the brickwork, where they are active at night. “They form a sort of moat of geckos that insects have to get past before they can make it into the house,” says Robinson.

Any that do get in risk an encounter with the “lounge lizards”, secretive skinks that skulk by day behind the lounge (that’s a sofa to non-Australian speakers). The skinks emerge in the evening to hunt a whole range of unwelcome guests, including cockroaches, spiders and silverfish. “You hardly notice they are there. But they’ll eat anything that’s moving on the ground,” says Robinson.”

I’m quite chuffed about this as I love lizards and am pleased to report that while gardening on Sunday I saw heaps of little guys running round the foliage. I’m not sure they are geckos, maybe they’re skinks, in which case I’d love to try and release them into the house. Again, not sure how Kevin would feel about lizards under the couch. We had a hell of a time getting a blue tongue out of our bedroom and back onto the balcony in Jervis.

The slug incidence also led me to FINALLY follow my friend Sharyn’s example and clean out the bathroom sink drain, which hasn’t run properly since we moved in. Suspecting hair was the culprit, I knew I have to take the thing apart, soak the S bend bits (in our case a complete O) in a bucket of bleached water, then put the whole thing back together again. Parts 1 and 2 went ok, but like the knucklehead I can be, I completely forget to take any note of which bits fitted together where. After a semillion this became problematic as there seemed to be a spare rubber washer that had no apparent home. An hour later, and many MANY leaks, we (I roped Kevin into helping) finally worked it out and have our sink working again.

The annoying thing is the sink drain isn’t really running any better and it turns out the problem is actually a physics issue. You see, neither the bathroom sink or bath have overflow holes. Without overflow holes, water going down the drain tends to get into a vacuum fight with the drain air and it is only due to gravity having the upper hand the water finally goes down the drain. But not without a bubbly fight I can tell you! If we had a overflow hole, the pressure equilibrium in the drain would be equal, so the water would flow straight down and drain air would be pushed through the overflow hole, not through the water itself.

So other than learn an important science lesson last night, the whole plumbing experience was a big waste of time.

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