Friday, 17 April 2009


Avid readers may remember our PIAF (Plumbing Incident Annually in February), and the resultant rather basic facilities we were left with.

The main problems with the plumbing as it was last time we were here were; having to flush the toilet using a bucket, and only having one tap, low to the floor, which produced water. I am happy to announce that this situation is now resolved.

After a rather long planning period (about 10 days of wondering if I could do it on my own, to be absolutely accurate) I went to Bricomarché and bought a huge collection of plumbing bits: joiners, angles, T-junctions, washers, olives (ask yer dad), tape and spare nuts. I took a piece of the old pipework I intended using to check I was buying the right diameter fittings (this is called "planning ahead" I believe) and was quite pleased with what I managed to buy, if horrified (as ever) with how much it all cost.

Getting the parts home, I then carefully removed all the old pipework, as I intended re-using as much of the REALLY expensive copper piping as I could salvage. This went quite well, and I ended up with about 10 meters of reusable pipe.

It was then I hit a snag.

I had cut a section of pipe to make sure I was buying the correct fittings. Even cleverer, I had cut 2 sections of pipe from different places to check they were they same size. Unfortunately I had managed to find the only two lengths of 12mm pipe in the house - and all the pipes I was intending to reuse were 14mm. This meant I had 80€ worth of the wrong sized fittings. This was galling, but luckily I mentioned this as an aside to Jill, who told me John had done something similar (although hopefully not as comprehensively) and had exchanged them for the correct size. As I hadn't actually opened any of the packages I was able to return to Bricomarché and do the same.

To cut a long story short (and I mean a REALLY long story with more twists and turns than the pipework I was replacing), we now have a flushing toilet (that's a relief) and taps in the laundry for a washing machine and dishwasher. I also have moved Pascal's tap into the laundry, and put it higher up the wall for easier use. The whole thing took me 8 hours non-stop muttering and forcing bits to fit, and I was so tired I missed my dinner, and the house is a mess because I had to take the laundry ceiling down, and I bumped my head on the low doorway 4 times, and now I can't do bending or standing up straight because everything hurts so much, but apart from that I am happy.

Because pictures of plumbing can't be made exciting
or even attractive, a photo of Tuesday's sunset

We still have no hot water, or working kitchen sink, but dishwasher takes priority...



chm said...

Keep up the good work, Simon!

Plumbing can be a lot of fun, especially when what you've been toiling on is working perfectly!

Word verification is: skshnerp. Sounds like an expletive!

NickL said...

I'm suprised I thought ou Aussies liked bucket toilets!!!

Tis a brave man that takes on the mysterious art of plumbing, and a true hero that wins and installs something that doesn't leak (i.e. unlike the shower cabinet I fitted).


Jean said...

Quite right about the dishwasher. It's the most important bit of kitchen equipment. You can wear clothes that whiff a bit but NEVER should man or woman have to do the washing up by hand. BTW, our plombier, Pascal has just this last few days finally fixed our last leak following the big freeze in January. Tant mieux.

Susan in Lille said...

Good job there Simon!

I completely agree with Jean, the dishwasher is a must! We were looking for a place to live here in Houston (we moved, sniff, sniff) and counted out all rental places without dishwashers.

Keep up the good work and I hope you keep enjoying it. For the most part. Other than the bumping and bruising and sore muscles at least.

Susan said...

Hi Susan. Glad to see you back. Hope your lurgy has gone now. I have also been suffering – this is the first day for over a week that I feel like I can get on with normal household chores, much less go in to work. We both hate washing the dishes (dishwater is just soooo disgusting, plus it makes your back ache) so a dishwasher is a must for us too.

CHM: I'm really proud of Simon's plumbing achievements.

The washing machine will come a close second in importance once we are there for any length of time. It's hard work washing by hand.

Nick: re toilets – Australians don't bother with a bucket – that would waste water. It's sawdust or a longdrop (or these days a composter).

Ken Broadhurst said...

Is there a lavomatique, a laverie automatique, a laundromat, a launderette, in Preuilly? When we moved to Saint-Aignan, there was none, so I ended up washing clothes by hand in our big laundry sink. I'd rather have a washing machine than a dishwasher, but that's just me.

I don't mind washing dishes by hand at all. If you do it right, you have a lot of hot soapy water, and it's very clean. Of course, if you don't have hot water...

But I'm sure you will soon, and all this lack of mod cons will be something you look back on with amusement and even fondness.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Oh, and very nice post, Simon. Amusing.

Barbara said...

Hi Simon & Susan,
You did it ! I think that's great. It's quite a victory for you both.

You deserved a pretty sunset after all that ;)

Have a great weeekend.

Susan said...

Barbara: Thank you, but I think Simon can take all of the credit for this – he deserves it :-)

Ken: and assuming we had a large laundry tub...I have my eye on a nice laundry tub actually. After 10+ years in the UK without a proper laundry (washing machine in kitchen, no laundry tub), it is one of the things I am really looking forward to.

Susan said...

PS No laundromat in Preuilly.

Simon0362 said...


For future information, you can, also buy adaptors between all of the standard pipe sizes so 12-15mm, 15-22mm, etc.
Comes in handy when you have lots of the one size, nothing of the necessary size and something needs to be fixed on Sunday evening....

Simon (another one, but a Pom)

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