An Afternoon With The Plumber

Posted on October 4, 2010


What happened to the last boiler to cross our plumber!

The last hour of my life has been spent talking about overflows, pipes and pressure gauges. Listening about overflows, pipes and pressure gauges… and looking at overflows, pipes and pressure gauges.

Not to amuse myself – our boiler is broken, and as usual my Dad asked me to stay and listen to the constant stream of utterly boring nouns leak from the gullet of our plumber.

Who I hasten to add is a perfectly nice bloke, but there isn’t even any of the usual banter, references to Nuts magazine, the economy or the match on Saturday. That’s part of the service isn’t it?

The point of this blog is not to whine about plumbers – some of them can do a very good job. I am more interested in the common rule abided by everyone I know to hold conversation for the duration of their visit.

Never have I had any interest in plumbing, though at the occasional house-party I have had to fix an unflushable toilet full of puke (who hasn’t?) but at the drop of the plumber’s hat I was scouring the building in search of the mischievous pipe causing all the bother.

We didn’t find it. Somehow it has sunk into the depths of flimsy plaster and the plumber was reluctant to take on such demanding work on one visit. He did stay for a lecture though.

I think I managed to look interested in his lengthy description not only of my boiler and what had gone wrong with it, but of many other types of boilers and how they may go wrong – though mine hadn’t.

What Wasn’t Wrong

We talked at great length about the plugs, glue, jigsaws and replacement piping he might need to order if he needed to fix something on this boiler in the future – presumably predicting that things will go wrong.

So immersed was I in his plumbing world of swirling parts and order-books I totally forgot to fulfil my end of the bargain, to offer of a cup of tea so he could gracefully decline – unless it is a long job. And then there might be toast involved.

The cup of tea I did not offer

Then his business associate appeared at my door, entered and proceeded to conduct a meeting, exchange of money, keys and letters in my kitchen whilst I stood idly by in admiration of their comfort in a stranger’s property.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had lit up right there and then, patting cigarette ash into my potted plants – tucked into a nicely chilled bottle of beer, whacked the TV on and settled down for an afternoon spent watching Homes Under the Hammer.

Ending the Visit

The spell dispersed, they finished their conversation, told me they would be back later in the week to hack off some tiling, gave me a cheeky wink and exited without a word more.

Thinking about it – I have no idea what is wrong with my boiler or whether it is OK to have a shower. Still – at least I will get to conduct further study later in the week!

Posted in: The Odd Box