The Saga of the Waterbutt

Last weekend I set out to buy a waterbutt. I realise that this is shutting the door after the horse has bolted, but I thought I could at least catch whatever little rain we might get this summer. I had always thought that I couldn’t fit a waterbutt near either of my drainpipes, but a friend showed me some very neat little slimline waterbutt he had bought.

At the Wyevale round the corner from me, they had run out of the slim waterbutts, but they did have the drainpipe connector kits so I bought one of those.

At the B&Q in Watford (having tried several other places) they had one slim waterbutt left, slightly dented, but I grabbed it anyway. It was only when I got to the checkout that I realised that it didn’t have a tap. We had a good search, but the tap was missing and they were out of spare taps. So they gave me some money off.

In Homebase, where they had also sold out of slimline waterbutts, I found a Sankey universal waterbutt tap. Fits all Sankey waterbutts. My waterbutt was a Sankey waterbutt. Problem solved.

Bought tap. Took tap home. Tap did not fit waterbutt. Bugger.

Looked at fitting. Slightly too small on butt and tapered. No problem, I thought, I’ll drill it out. The universal tap has a nut, so it will just fit through the hole. Drilled out hole (having spent twenty minutes looking for the correct sized bit). Turned out that the plastic of the socket wasn’t just a thin sleeve, but a great big glob, so I couldn’t get the thread through. Ho hum. At this point I was getting quite cross and started questioning the parentage of the people at Sankey, especially since my arm wasn’t actually long enough to fit all the way down the waterbutt to put the nut on the tap, even if it had fitted through. At this point I gave up, screamed abuse at everyone involved in designing and selling the waterbutt and went inside.

Half an hour later I had calmed down a bit and though of a solution. The solution, obviously, was to cut another hole in the waterbutt for the tap. Obviously it wouldn’t have the reinforcement of the mount for the first tap, so it might just pop out under the pressure, but its not as if the waterbutt was any use at the moment anyway. Drilled that through and fitted the tap no problem. There then just remained the problem of the bloody great hole that was the original tap. The solution, as always, was silicone sealant. I squeezed an enormous blob of silicone sealant into the hole, smoothed it down on both sides and then glued a new patch of plastic sheeting on the outside with polystyrene cement and insulating tape.

Its not a thing of beauty any more, but so far its 1/3rd full and holding. When the rainy season comes and waterbutts are in supply again, I’ll get a better one and relegate this one to the end of the garden. Still, its one way to spend a Sunday afternoon.