The Plumber’s.. Back

Gratuitous acer. More aesthetically appealing than watching our plaster dry?


Things are moving on. The latest rotten pipe has been fixed and the stud wall rebuilt. They’ve taken a jackhammer to the concrete slab, ready for pipework to the new centre island and to the repositioned radiators.

The kitchen extension is, probably, a 1960s creation and not particularly well insulated. It falls on the Project Manager, that’ll be me then, to decide how big the radiators will need to be. I’ve found a neat little widget that works out the number of BTUs required, used the worst of all possible worst case scenarios and then added a bit. Well, quite a lot actually. Radiators ordered, huge sigh of relief and coffee all round. Except… I feel the cold. Back on the phone, I up one of the radiators by 25% bigger again.


Mike’s Plumber is not a happy man. He has seen the radiator brochure. And, specifically, the installation instructions I thoughtfully printed off for him from the manufacturer’s internet site. “But the pipes come out of the wall..”

So far so good. “They’re a contemporary design, minimalist. And besides, it’s so much easier to hoover when there are no pipes cluttering up the floor.”

“I’ve never liked those.”

“I have actually ordered them…”

“They’re very difficult to fit you know. So little tolerance on the spacing of the tails..” He is getting into his stride now.. “And these instructions are just not clear at all. I suppose the radiators are foreign..?”

I find him the number of the British manufacturer’s helpline and suggest that we give them a call.

“Oh, they won’t talk to me..”

Considering how little I know about radiators, the man on the helpline couldn’t have been more polite. After five minutes in mutual commiseration on the state of the weather, I hand him over to Mike’s Plumber. It’s not an argument exactly. But the side of the conversation I hear inspires little confidence at all. Mike’s Plumber hangs up the phone. “I’m not sure I’m any the wiser..”

“Perhaps we should just do as the manufacturer suggests?”

“It won’t work….”

I give up.


2017-11-07T14:11:44+00:00November 26th, 2012|Tags: |


  1. Vera November 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Sounds like things are coming nicely chez vous despite your plumber’s lack of inspiration. Carry on, Jessica, you will win the day!

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Vera, why is everything so difficult?!

  2. Mise November 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    As the saga continues, I increasingly feel that the word ‘Mike’ should be in italics, to emphasis that he’s not your plumber

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Bold and underlining as well? Emphasis is so important.

  3. Cumbrian November 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I used to know a plumber liker that.
    And a joiner
    And a bricklayer
    And a plasterer
    And an electrician
    Usual comment from any tradesman when something is just slightly differnt “We didn’t do it like that on the last job”
    Best answer I’ve heard “Yes, but you’re not on the last job now”

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Quite. I’m just waiting for… “Oooh, you’re not Up Country now, you know….”

  4. 1gus1 November 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    One of my sons-in-law is a plumber. He practises his toothsucking on me. Actually, he’s very good and creative. It’s a pity I can’t lend him to you:-)

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Hello 1gus1, and welcome to rusty duck.

      We also had a quote from a guy who looked to be very good (Jessica’s Plumber!). Sadly twice the price, but I have a feeling we are now finding out why… 🙁
      As in any trade, there will be good and there will be bad.

  5. simone November 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    I think ‘Mike’s’ plumber should remain Mike’s plumber! Can’t you swap him for one that is more ‘in tune’ with you? (That’s the plumber, not Mike) 🙂

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      We are a long way into the kitchen now… next project quite possibly!

  6. BadPenny November 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    At the end of this you won’t just be Project Manager !

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Quite possibly I will also be a gibbering wreck!

  7. CherryPie November 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    He is beginning to sound like a plumber that I used to have. We could only have the things done that he wanted to do and that was that!

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      “used to have….” 🙂

  8. Jacqueline November 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica,
    First of all, thank you so much for your lovely comment today and your photograph of your acer is very beautiful.
    Sounds as if your renovations, as all renovations, don’t always go smoothly. We had a 17th century cottage and now live in a late Victorian house, so I can totally relate. XXXX

    • Jessica November 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      You have a lovely blog Jackie, I will be back. And welcome to rusty duck.
      It’s hard work renovating, isn’t it. But I do keep saying, perhaps more to myself than anyone, it WILL be worth it!

  9. knitsofacto November 27, 2012 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Are you sure he’s a plumber and not just pretending!

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Oh Er. I think he just hates anything ‘new-fangled’.

  10. Natalie November 27, 2012 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Hoo boy…

    One hopes you haven’t had to see too much of the fabled crack lately, at the very least.

    Renos…such fun!!

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

      I just look the other way, Natalie!

  11. Ali November 27, 2012 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Next time, Mike will let you have the eye candy plumber, I’m sure. I wish I could find one at all – my kitchen tap is driving me insane.

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:28 am - Reply

      A good plumber is worth his weight in gold, Ali.

  12. Em November 27, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

    So sensible of you to up the radiator size. I let a very similar sounding plumber persuade me that there was no need for a bigger one in a previous house and I spent the next five years shivering in the kitchen. I hope the plumber doesn’t read your blog….or perhaps you should slip the address into his low slung back pocket?

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply

      There is nothing worse than being cold in the house. And everything I read suggests a cold winter coming up. Brrrr!

  13. Rosie November 27, 2012 at 9:46 am - Reply

    What a character Mike’s plumber is – I sort of visualise him in cartoon form when you write about him. Glad things are moving on for you and it must feel good now you have the radiators ordered, not much the plumber can do now but fit them for you perhaps you should wear ear plugs that day as I envisage lots of ‘chuntering’:)

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

      I’m looking forward to it already!

  14. wherethejourneytakesme November 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    I stuck out for an over-sized radiator in our medium sized Shower Room as I like to be warm when naked – we now call it the Sauna (I think we overdid it a little!!). We never mention the word plumber in our house without remembering the one that our builder engaged to do the heating and plumbing in our extension (two bedrooms and a shower room) he somehow connected the radiators to the hot water so that when the heating was off but the hot water on so were the radiators in the new extension! From my experience Plumbers mean trouble…expensive trouble!!

    • Jessica November 28, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

      I’m hoping that by adding thermostatic valves we can turn them down if necessary. But I’d still far rather that a bathroom be too warm than too cold!

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