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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Reflections on Water Pipes Bursting

My reaction(s) to the named unfortunate event were as follows:

1. Oh Shit
2. Call a plumber
3. If this crisis protrudes through the night, I wont have to write that essay on Reflactive Learning (at least tonight).

with that in mind, I scour the phone book for plumber whose number has an Ulan Bator area code, thinking "delay". My concerns are however groundless, even when failing to find a Mongolian plumber, because the local plumbers I then turn to are, to a man, drunk, unavailable and useless. Louis, who had been my plumber of choice, reminds me

"It is Christmas, Martin, I could probably come out next week sometime".

At this juncture, three conflicting emotions scatter across the surface of my skin, like water-dwelling pond-skaters bristing across a pond without breaking the surface tension of the water. These emotions are as follows:

1. Relief - it IS going to be a long night, so though I may have time for a quick episode of "Come Dine with Me" (my poor substitute trash TV replacement for the gloriously despicable and deeply immoral North American programme "Survivor"), I definitely will not have time to edit/complete the concluding sentence of my essay, a sentence which currently reads "Like Scientology, or belief in the Great Pumpkin, about the only thing that Reflective Learning has going for it is that it makes some ballon headed people happy enough with life that they are distracted from doing anything bad. Unfortunately, at least one category of the aforementionedly described are cartoon characters: however, the sociological observations of Mr Schultz are generally infinitely more acute than the dangerously offensive noodlings of Reflective Learning Acolytes".

2. Hatred - of plumbers. This should be self-explanatory.

3. Discovery - I realize I can fix the problem.

A quick rewind is in order here. I was doing this:

in order to complete the knock through of our previous lounge to our new extension, when after gracefully delivering a killing blow to a stubborn half brick, said errant brick performed a trajectory through the air, and in slow motion headed directly towards the one remaining unburied mains water pipe in the joint. Water pipe in question is lead, due to be removed in early January, hence it's unprotected state. The pipe is capped, but exposed, and lead is strong, but brittle. The half brick lands with the accuracy of a World War Two bouncing bomb, and with a similar effect to those Dam Busters of yesteryear (the movie, I have no doubt, will be shown again at Christmas) cracks the pipe. A fountain of high pressure water, the sizzle of 240 Volts shorting out, and I am in pitch darkness, up a ladder, in a pool of water, with live mains electricity, a cellphone, a cup of nice tea and a sledgehammer for company.

Aside: : I should remark on one slightly interesting anthropological note here. As has been commented on, usually by North Americans, NAY Canadians, the average Brit tends to profanisize more than the average Burly Montreal stevedore on a bad day. We, quite frankly swear. A lot. However, and I must remember to present this to the Canadian High Commission in pursuit of my ongoing quest for citizenship, at the very moment when my house, our life savings and possibly my own life were most threatened by surging mains water, subsequent electrical fire with accompanying gas explosion, I noted, with it has to be said a degree of quiet self satisfaction, that ratther than opt for the Anglo Saxon "Oh Fuck. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCKIN HELL", I automatically, instead took the North American(or rather Canadian route) of "Oh My God. Oh My Godetc.." then, and here's the clincher ended it wiht the classic Nova Scotianism "Holy Shit". If more proof was needed of my total Canadian-ness then I present, oh Ungoverned Canada, THAT sentence as absolute and binding proof.

Fortunately, the problem has now been solved. Fortunately, one of the many career options I have tried in the past is as a metalworker and I know enough about lead to know that it works beautifully. With no response from emergency call out plumbers until about 28th Dec., Nickson applied all his experience with lead (about twenty five minutes) and crimped the pipe closed. The temporary fix seems to have held.

Relatively satisfied with that days work, I board up our extension's back door from the inside, a process which involves screwing a big sheet of plywood to the wall, internally. Then I load a big stack of 2 x 4's against the door ensuring no-one can gain illicit entrance. Then I leave the rear area of the house, snapping the padlock firmly shut, giving the hasp a shake to check it is secure, and realize I have just locked my keys inside. The ghostly sound of evil laughter wisps across the frosted sky like a vengeaful former extension having their unearthly revenge on her un-doers. An hour later, with a bandaged head ( I scraped the old pate quite badly when tearing off the plywood [in the dark] that boarded up the back of the house), I load up the Crosstowner with four blue garbage bags of garbage/rubble.

Nota Bene: For several weeks, after discovering that everything NOT recycled in Hull goes to the same landfill, we decide to use the massive skips at Nickson Mansioons, our apartment residence, instead of paying out even more money for another skip. We have already shifted an incredible twelve tonnes of rubble/;'building detritus and a F***cked if we're going to pay AGAIN for doing this. THe slight fly in the ointment is that we have to manually haul the garbage from Ella to the Apartment in garbage bags. The trusty Crosstowner usually gets loaded up like an ornery mule with four or five bags, then wheeled back to the apartment.

I am anxious to be home, especially because pushing the bike is quite a tough job, so any interruption in my five minute walk is unwelcome. Especially from the Police. Apparently, the Constable has mistaken me for a tramp. Admittedly, my face is dirty with coal and brick dust, and I am slightly unsteady on my feet as I am very tired and just descending from a massive adrenalin high. I would also admit to pushing a bike laden with four dirty plastic bags tied to the bike with string. All this is problematic, BUT when the Constable wants me to open the bags, another world of issues reveal itself, as I realize that, if I am truthful with him, I have to reveal that I'm just a bout to dump a load of building rubble in my landlord's bins. This may, or may not, be illegal, but it sure feels like it. I tell that copper what I have been doing (renovating) and the bags are full of dirty clothes. Sherlock falls lock , stock and barrel for this utterly unlikely explanation (think how many clothes would fill four garbage bags), and I am off the hook.

Despite the above, it is a good day. The wall came down, and the 140kg supporting beam that we installed several weeks ago has held. No essays were harmed in the making of this entry.

The gap to the new extension before demolition :

Nickson with weapon of choice:

Another old pile of rubbish to move

THe gap is opened between Mordor and Uruch Bligghgghdgh

1 comment:

JoeyMac said...

You'll have to put a calander together with the pics of you renovating.:)