Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Plumbing: The Depths of Frustration

For the three-and-a-half months in which I was living in Sydney and the rest of the family was here in Perth, I was lucky enough to retain the family washing machine. That meant regular trips to the local laundrette for my wife, so she was (understandably) extremely pleased when our beloved front-loader finally made the trip across the country.

Unfortunately the house we're renting is a little on the old side, and when the water hoses were connected to the machine, the taps leaked in a steady stream all over the floor.

I'm not the handiest person alive, but I've picked up a thing or two about simple plumbing fixes, and this one was one of the simplest - turn off the water, take the taps apart, wrap the screw threads with threadseal tape and reassemble. Bob's your uncle.

So, step one. Four turns around the outside of the house and there was absolutely no sign of the stopcock. That's same stopcock that's supposed to be easily visible and accessible to water board employees wanting to read the meter, incidentally.

A call to our real estate agent got me nowhere ('It's in the garden') so it was the turn of the local water authority. The nice lady on the other end of the phone was able to tell me that the stopcock was indeed in the garden, on the left hand side, just behind the fence.

Out to the garden and the appointed spot, then.

No stopcock.

Were it not for my curious and faintly amused neighbour, I'd still be looking. He was kind enough to point out that shortly before the house was put up for rent, the owners mulched the garden ...

Half an hour of digging revealed the stopcock, buried under six inches of soil.

Visible and accessible, my arse.

Step Two: disassemble the taps. Doddle.

Unless, that is, the entire cold water fitting has accumulated enough limescale to concrete it into place.

Half an hour of grunting, swearing and spraying WD40 around like air freshener and I was no nearer a result. It was time to resort to the Great British Repair Method, time-honoured and tested by generations innumerable of would-be handymen:

Yup, if all else fails, smack it with a hammer. It may not always work, but it'll definitely, definitely make you feel better.
In this case it did work. And I did feel better. Plus my wife can do now washing, and is looking appreciatively at me, with 'Truly, you are the alpha male' eyes.

Although that last bit might be thanks to the clinging aroma of WD40 ...


Post a Comment

<< Home