Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Coarse Guide to: Plumbing

Plumbing is easy, assuming you have a shifting spanner, the necessary vocabulary, and infinite patience.

The best spanner to use is a really big one. This means you can tighten stuff up so tight no water can escape. This is a desirable thing.

The best vocabulary for the job is basic Anglo Saxon. This is put to best effect when you run out of:

Patience. This is important, because everything that can go wrong will (twice), and it can get really tiring retrieving your spanner every time you thrown it away in disgust.

First thing to do when planning some plumbing is to plan. Planning means that you only have to return to the hardware shop twice after having bought the wrong stuff. Not planning means that you use so much petrol returning to the hardware shop that getting a man in would have been cheaper. The best way to plan is on the back of a beer coaster with a pen that runs out half way through, but any scrap of paper and unreliable scribing instrument will suffice.

A Plan. Invent your own code, and try
to remember what stuff means.
Once you have a plan write a list of what you need on a piece of paper. It is best to get in the car and then ask your spouse if they have the list (repeat process as required). If the paper is small enough and gets lost between home and the hardware store you can be creative when you get there.

When in the hardware store, your vocabulary will come in useful, but only if spoken under your breath. Assuming you have any breath after seeing the prices. Walking around muttering and looking perplexed is de rigeur in the plumbing aisle, so don't worry.

Once you get your bits home, they are best sorted by spreading them out all over the kitchen floor. This shows everyone in the house that you are working and a man not to be messed with. Return to the hardware store and exchange the bits you have bought that are the wrong size (you can do this if you haven't been a coarse plumber and opened up all the packets), then lay your plumbing bits (angle pieces and T-pieces and all that caper) out so you are sure you have what you need. Return to the hardware store and buy the one piece you forgot about, then start work.
Bits. Don't get 12Ø and 14Ø mixed up.
Next, turn the water off where it comes into the house. An impromptu cold shower will not improve things.

Once you start work, it's a piece of cake. Vocabulary will help, as will not throwing your spanner too far. If you must throw the spanner, don't hit a window, because glazing is even more finickity than plumbing and you don't want to go there.

Once all the bits are connected turn the water on slowly. Joints will leak, so turn the mains tap off again and REALLY give them a tighten. Repeat the last two steps until you can flush the toilet without every pipe in the place making like the Versailles fountains.

If you're really clever (like what I am) you too can achieve something like this:
Yesterday was a busy day: Alex and Nicole came over to have a look at our back garden with a view to Alex amenagement'ing it (terraces are needed); then we went to bricomarche for my first return to the hardware shop to buy the rest of the plumbing bits for the shower; then I did some plumbing, then we picked 5Kg of cherries to go with the 3Kg we picked yesterday, making 29Kg so far with 2 of the 7 trees picked; then Bengt arrived and donated us his old portable electric hotplates (he now has a proper cuisinier); then I did some more plumbing; then I made cherry cordial.

Phew!

Simon

3 comments:

Jean said...

C'est magnifique !! If you can fit it so that it doesn't leak, perhaps you would come and explain to us how to fix ours !! I feel another apero dinatoire coming on.

Abbeysmum said...

Oh Poor Lovee....You need a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lay down !

Carolyn said...

Oh, the happiness and heartache of home ownership. You describe it so well.

No project here is ever started with everything we need. It's a nuisance now, but in the days when home renovation was full time, I looked forward to the inevitable trip to the hardware or lumber store because I'd get to civilization for a while.

Word verification is trisdess. Bonjour, trisdess.