A Crash Course In Plumbing

Mike had started work on the tap.

He’d read through all the instructions and concluded that there weren’t enough washers in the box. Is this better or worse than having too many? That spectre of the odd bit left over at the end of the job. Yours truly is dispatched to try and source some more, while he gets started on the water pressure reducing valve. He’s put one of the washers in a little plastic bag with a self seal top. I am on strict instructions, on pain of death, ON NO ACCOUNT TO LOSE IT.


The man in Plumb Centre is scratching his head, peering suspiciously into that same little plastic bag. “Italian, you say? Bought on the internet?” A sharp intake of air through clenched teeth. “I’ll have to go and search through the catalogues for this one. Haven’t seen any washers like these before, my love.”

There’s a single string of tinsel nonchalantly slung over the shelves behind the counter. Bless them for trying. Another one twined around a display of thermostatic valves. Is this the ideal Christmas gift for the man who has everything? A load of kids are kicking something around the car park, perilously close to my car. And why do so many tradesmen still want to call me ‘love’?

My new chum is returning, mercifully still carrying the precious cargo in its little plastic bag. He’s shaking his head. “You’re not going to find one of these round here darlin’, sorry..”

I try another plumber’s merchant on the same industrial estate. But it’s pretty much the same story there, “…my duck”.


Walking down the steps from the garage, I’m wondering what I’ll find. In the kitchen I can see only Mike’s legs and feet. The rest of him is buried within the cupboard under the sink. An ominous looking bucket, half full of water, stands next to him on the floor. Assorted tools and offcuts of pipe strewn casually about..

BUT.. the tap does appear to be in its rightful place. Mike emerges from the cupboard and turns it on with a flourish. Water flows into the sink. He nudges the lever again and it stops. Not even a drip. “TA DAAA…”



It really does look as though he’s pulled it off. Well done, Mike. He’ll be deserving of that glass of wine. There’s just one thing still bothers me. I wave the little plastic bag. “What about the washers, are there some missing?”

“No, it’s OK. I was wrong. That one must be a spare.”


A Crash Course In Plumbing

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2017-11-07T19:31:14+00:00December 14th, 2012|Tags: |


  1. Em December 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    That tap looks very similar to ours. I had a similar tooth sucking ‘foreign muck’ kind of conversation with our plumber at the time. Congratulations to the spousal plumber and I hope you have a complete kitchen for Christmas!

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      It’s getting there, Em. Thanks. But he’s not looking forward to the radiators…

  2. haggiz December 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Do you think your husband just wanted you out of the way in case he struggled?! x

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Quite possibly! But it won’t work twice..

  3. Anny December 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    A thermostatic valve – thank you, that’s the other half’s Christmas sorted – he’ll love it. Well done Mike!

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      I was tempted myself. But in the end settled on a new monkey wrench..

  4. Jill Chandler. December 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    That really made me laugh! I hope he got more than one glass of wine.

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill. He decided it was worthy of a G&T. And then a glass of wine.

  5. Jill Chandler. December 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Oh, just another comment, if I want to list you on my blog list do I put the website address on as I cant find another. Like a blogspot effort.

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      Oh Jill, you’re so kind. I don’t know how it’s done on Blogger, but on WordPress I just list the website address, yes.

    • shaz December 15, 2012 at 10:52 am - Reply


      in blogger dashboard at the top of the reading list theres an Add button click it and copy the web address into it make sure its the main web address rather than one to a specific post or it wont work


      • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 11:01 am - Reply

        Thanks Shaz.

      • Jill Chandler. December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm - Reply

        Thanks Shaz, something worked as its on!

        • shaz December 19, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

          Thats great 🙂

  6. Vera December 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Jessica, wow, a sink with running water! Well done Mike! And methinks that he preferred to have you out the way while he was fiddling about. Do you do a cluck around him when he is doing jobs? I tend to with Lester, clucking around him like one of our hens just to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he tends to be absent minded and often in his own land in his head!

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      I’ve tried. But discovered, with the benefit of almost 30 years experience, that clucking has a tendency to be life threatening… I just wait for crashing and swearing, then get ready to pick up bits, apply sticking plaster etc.

      • knitsofacto December 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm - Reply

        This does sound very familiar. Although here there’s sometimes an insurance claim form to fill in afterwards too!

        • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm - Reply

          Sometimes it’s easier to spot something that might be about to go wrong, when you’re looking at it from a distance. But such advice is never welcome, nonetheless.

  7. Cumbrian December 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Amazing what the average man can do when needs be, it looks fine. Know what you mean about the crashing and swearing, but it all seems to get the job done.

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      And that’s what counts at the end of the day.

  8. Anne December 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Hooray, the comment form is working today! Love the plumbing story – I have been through several kitchen refits over the years, and have spent many a happy hour gazing at plumbing supplies in B&Q and Homebase (ok, that was a lie). Love your sink and tap, and am looking forward to seeing more.

    • Jessica December 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Hello Anne, thank you for persisting and welcome to rusty duck!
      I’ve changed the comments form today, because the previous one didn’t seem to be compatible with some versions of Internet Explorer. I’m sorry for all the aggro.
      And I’m glad it’s not just me that spends so many happy hours in B&Q and Homebase. 🙁

  9. BadPenny December 15, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Duck, Love, Darlin’ … I get called Dear or Madam at the CoOp and feel terribly old !

    Well done Mike and a spare washer too – great !

    When we moved here every tap dripped & we were on a water metre so I had buckets everywhere & flushed the loos with the water collected. Got taps fixed & our water bill went down. Ironically the new modern mixer tap in the kitchen had to be totally replaced !

    • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

      That’s an awful lot of drips!

  10. Denise December 15, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Round here it’s “Mate” lol! Beauty of being married to an engineer is he males anything he needs. Yes I am ruined! lol!

    • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      I think I’d prefer ‘Mate’ to ‘Darlin”…!

  11. knitsofacto December 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Here it’s mostly Lovely, or something unintelligible (probably Welsh!)

    • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      I do need to know what I’m being called, even though I may not like it!

  12. CherryPie December 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Your kitchen seems to be coming along now which can only be good news.

    • Jessica December 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply


  13. wherethejourneytakesme December 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Congratulating the plumber…offering him G&T and Red Wine…you will be nominating him for ‘Plumber of the Year’ next!
    Glad it is ‘all well that ends well’!

    • Jessica December 16, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

      And not a ‘crack’ in sight!

  14. Natalie December 16, 2012 at 3:56 am - Reply

    Are we leading parallel plumbing lives?? We got a new kitchen faucet today, installed by my friend who is quite the amateur plumber!

    • Jessica December 16, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

      Oooh, so useful to have friends like that!

  15. Sue December 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Plumbing……another string to his bow, well done Mike.

    I know all too well the trauma of traipsing round looking to buy unidentifiable parts for things , usually tractors in my case. Why they insist on ‘love’ and ‘ducky’ I never know one day I’ll be arrested for assault!!

    • Jessica December 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      I’ll bail you out if you bail me out..

  16. Rosie December 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Hurrah for a working tap and a job well done and at least you have a spare washer! Round here the term of address in these places is ‘shug’ – short for sugar, I assume. I can just about cope with that but the hairdresser calling me ‘sweetie’ and ‘hun’ got a bit much!:)

    • Jessica December 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      I think ‘sweetie’ would be a bit much for me too.

  17. elaine December 17, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Success – hurrah. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

    • Jessica December 17, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Thanks Elaine, so far so good!

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