Plumbing – it’s a real cliff hanger

JF and pal enjoying the perfect conditions for distance plumbing consultation.
JF and pal enjoying the perfect conditions for distance plumbing consultation.

So it’s been really cold.  Outdoor taps burst in sharp frost in these conditions and women like me have an ‘oooh, better phone my husband’ default setting when the dark arts of emergency plumbing are required.  Which they were. Plus, I counted up and we have 11 outdoor taps across the fields and yard.

Unfortunate that this turned out to be an incident of extreme, rather than emergency plumbing.

My husband, when not doing his day job, is an accomplished mountaineer (ice climbing a particular passion) and lethal off piste skier.   Well I say lethal, I’ve only seen video of him at it.  I’m more of an on piste lass, and, having watched that footage, which featured considerable camera-shake from a clearly nervous cameraman – we’ve never skied together.  For those of us old enough to remember the Milk Tray Man let me put it this way.  With JF at full stretch you’d have got the chocs, but I doubt they’d have been in their allocated bit of the box!

I digress.  First one of the taps on the stable yard went.  JF was chuffed to mintballs already in deep snow with crampons and ice axe, skis on his back, a tin of fish and a pack of olives and a vague threat of porridge in his pack, yomping up some God forsaken wilderness in Cumbria.  Back on Earth, I couldn’t find an ‘off’ valve, so phoned him.  After the phone ringing out for a good five minutes he eventually answered.  One of the challenges of multiple layers, 4,000 pockets and ski gloves I suppose is lightning-fast phone retrieval.

Once out of one of the 18 or 19 ‘secret’ pockets about his person he was able to give clear and concise instructions (yep, yelled them) and I located and switched off the offending tap.   And relax.

Uh oh.  Another fountain, this time one of the field taps.  I turned off the stop tap thingy I thought would do the trick, nothing happened.  So I phoned.  Again.

Not so relaxed.  About eight minutes (or what seemed like it) later the phone was answered.  I could hear a howling, biting wind and the following, screamed through it.  ‘I’M HANGING ONTO A QUARTER INCH ICE SHELF ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN AND NOW I’M ON THE PHONE – THIS BETTER NOT BE SOMEONE SELLING ME EFFING PPI RECOVERY.’

After pointing out, in that quiet voice I reserve for wifely remonstration, that there is no need to be quite so rude when it is me, and I have an emergency situation here, the second of the day, I was gracious enough to accept a second lot of instructions and decommission the geyser.

Two things.  1. Thank God the third tap burst when he’d got home and 2. he is, quite rightly, mapping out the best way to achieve revenge.  So, all of us ladies here at TMC are now to have an induction and practical on emergency plumbing, and there’s to be a manual which will, of course, be laminated.  Ladies, my sincere apologies.


One thought on “Plumbing – it’s a real cliff hanger

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