Saturday, October 02, 2004

A cork and a bit of wire

The downstairs toilet just exploded again. This happens about once a year, when the extremely tricky bit of plumbing devised by The Man gives out. He fixed it originally after the earthquake, when all the pipes busted inside the wall. Rather than demolish the wall and put new pipes in, he ran a pipe out the window and joined it up outside. At the same time he cemented the cistern back together. It works perfectly most of the time, but I have to admit it looks a little odd. (This is a good thing, by the way. Whenever the landlord visits we ply him with tea until he has to pee, and then he gets to be reminded of the collapsed toilet wall, which we never fixed, and the improvised plumbing. He comes out, washes his hands, and lowers the rent. Unfortunately he doesn't visit very often.)

Every time he has to fix this plumbing The Man tells me he did it properly this time and it won't happen again.

But it did. The pipes flew apart and water spurted everywhere. The floor was flooded and so was I. I suppose I should be grateful that it's only water. (It's the inlet pipe.) The Man is out, so I couldn't pretend to be an inept and helpless female and just let him fix it. He's due home at about midnight.

I turned off the mains and tried to rejoin the pipes. They did not want to be rejoined. I could fit them together but they wouldn't stay together. They'd look all right, but the slightest bit of pressure from water would pop them apart again. I tried hammering them together. Same result. Something more was called for, evidently. A new pipe and a professional plumber would be a good start, in my opinion. I suggested that last time, but The Man insisted that he could do just as good a job and I let it go. How on earth did he get those pipes to stay joined all this time anyway? I can't see how it is possible. Did he use glue?

I couldn't leave the water off, because then I couldn't use the toilets or cook dinner. But I couldn't leave it on because then it would be pouring water all over the toilet room floor all evening. So I decided to plug the inlet pipe.

After considering a few alternatives I settled on a cork, and had to shave it down to the right size. It took a while to get it just right, and even then I knew it wouldn't stay in once I turned the water on. So I found some wire and wound it around the cork and the pipe, in a great twisty tangle, and then turned on the water. The cork held. There is a little dripping, but not much. I've put a bucket underneath.

I wonder what is going to happen when The Man takes the wire off? Will turning off the mains relieve the pressure behind the cork, or will he get popped in the head and drenched, as he deserves, for doing this to me?