The DIY Hell Goes On

Jesus, I fucking hate plumbing.

My father wasn’t like me. My father loved plumbing and he had all the skills though his own father was a stonemason. I think the gift is in the hands, and maybe he was kind enough to pass it on to me, wittingly or otherwise. Who knows?

Remember I was telling you about those little units I was building? Well, I finished the first one today, and dragged it upstairs to the bathroom, but of course, as usual, I forgot that the fucking waste pipe would be too close to the fucking wall, so I had to dig out my Japanese saw and hack a lump out of the bottom rail to make it fit.

Lucky it’ll be all hidden when I’m finished.

And so I put it in place, beautifully constructed, square and right and honest. Unlike the fucking floor and walls of the goddam house, built by some fool. It leans away from the wall.

Jesus Christ!! Now I have to fix the legs to make it look good. I have to somehow adjust the motherfucker to hide this stupid 5-degree out-of-alignment caused by an idiot builder so long ago I can’t even murder him with the Samurai Saw because he’s probably already dead, the bastard.

Fuck him.

Eventually I got it into place for a preliminary fit, and of course nothing lined up. Not a surprise, but remember, I don’t like plumbing. I’m not good at it. I am good at carpentry and I’d make anything for you, but I don’t like pipes.

That isn’t to say, of course, that I’m prepared to pay some fucker instead. Certainly not: I’ll do the work and I’ll do it right, but I just won’t like it and I’ll curse a lot while I’m doing it.

I have all the little gadgets, including the little circular cutters that let you slice through pipes that are only half an inch from the wall. Not only half-inch, but three-quarters too. Tellin’ ya now. No hacksaws here. None of that bullshit. And I have a toolbox with steel wool to remove the oxidation from the copper pipe. And tubs of cement for the pvc wastepipe. And a blowtorch for soldered joints. And a huge box of spare compression fittings. And spanners, and wrenches and vises and Jesus knows what else.

Oh, no fucking around here, let me tell you.

It’s just that I don’t like it.

I don’t like the skinned knuckles, or the lying on floors while dirty water pisses down onto my face, or the fact that sinks always leak the first time you connect them.

I’ve learned a few things though. For example, I’ve learned that it’s worth the small extra cost of installing in-line valves so that you can take it all out again without disconnecting the water to the whole house. And I’ve learned that a proper compression fitting can be achieved without the use of polytetrafluoroethylene tape,which is not something every plumber would agree with, but it’s true.

See, when I was growing up, plumbers were real craftsmen, who could just as easily flash a church roof as fit a sink, because their gift was based on lead, or plumbum in Latin. But these days, I’m afraid, a plumber is a guy with a van and a coil of plastic pipe.

My father owned a blow-lamp he had to prime and pump. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He knew how to solder with an iron, how to wire a two-way switch, and how to plaster a wall.

He wouldn’t approve of plastic pipe and neither do I.


Previously on Bock:


22 thoughts on “The DIY Hell Goes On

  1. Spaights, wasn’t that the spot?

    For sinks and the like a good length of flexible pipe/hose is your only man. The good stuff mind, encased in braided wire.

  2. Spaights indeed, with its unique smell of paraffin, galvanised steel and hempen rope. Well spotted. A place my father would have known well.

  3. Hope you flooded your house Fuck 21st centuary and your talking about copper pipes,get a grip and next time hire a plumber

  4. My mate’s a plumber. He hates it. Always complaining. He’s the Jack Dee of plumbing, looks like him too! Big miserable sour puss. He does get the drinks in tho’. (Hey, I’m a plumber’s mate!)

  5. I was plumbing on Friday – hate it as well. Little bloody leaks that sneak out when you’re not looking. Agree about the isolation valves – worth their weight, until they start to leak as well….

  6. Do you remember the old Mickey Barrys in High Street, he sold anything you could want.
    nails, nuts and bolts all sold loose and wrapped in old newspaper. The new man is not bad but it’s not the same.
    I wonder if he has those things for taking stones out of horses hoofs.
    It’s still a good place to get proper tradesman’s tools. Those big DIY places sell some amount of shite.

  7. Standards are essential BOCK and it’s good to plumb with copper. I don’t like that plastic piping either but it does what it says it will and easily. Too easily I think. No art in it.

  8. I don’t like the plastic piping, despite what that other individual thinks. Some people just have no soul.

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