I went out in the pre-storm wind to tie up the tomato plants that have triffided since the last tying. I stayed out for the first spatters of rain then for the more grown up rain and got back indoors just as it turned into sheet rain. Only then did I remember that although Tivoli and I connected the two water butts (top left) last week, we did not get round to fixing an overflow for the second one. It's important since all the rain that comes off the back of the house goes through the water butts and that's a lot of water to sog the house walls if it's left to flow free.
So as soon as the rain eased I went back outside. There's a hole near the top of the brown butt for an overflow and I searched through my miscellaneous hosepipe bits for something that would fit. The best compromise meant enlarging the hole slightly. Where was my file? Unfindable, even though I am meticulous about where I keep my tools and about putting them away. Must still be at the old house. Ah well, a knife, then.
I had no washers that fitted so made some out of an old punctured bicycle inner tube, tightened the fittings, attached the garden hose (top right) and watched. And watched.
The blue butt filled to the overflow pipe, then above. Why was water not flowing into the brown butt? I lifted the pipe. It was. Puzzling. Had there been an airlock? I couldn't see how there could have been. Hmm.
The brown butt filled to the overflow pipe, then above. Why was water not flowing into the yellow hosepipe? I lifted the pipe at the drain end. It started to gush (bottom left). An airlock!
Inexplicably contented in the midst of rain and problem-solving, I went back to the blue butt. It took me far longer than it should have done to realise that the volume of water flowing into the butt from the wide downpipe was far greater than the narrow overflow pipe could manage. Obvious when you look.
(So that's why we did that daft 'if you turn both bath taps on full and take out the plug how long will it take to fill up the bath' problem in primary school. I'd always wondered.)
For the time being I'll have to go outside to drain the excess off into a dustbin from that peculiar tap halfway up the blue butt (bottom right). Better solutions will be found.