The tap in the kitchen is dripping and, I’ll confess, it’s breaking me.
Among other labels, I am exactly the sort of person who thinks they can fix things. Perhaps some of that thinking is delusion, but I generally get away with it. For the most part, however, I don’t deal with plumbing. Not even in Theory.
As a trained electrician, what I know about moisture is that it needs to stay away from my stuff.
However, I recently re-rendered my front wall, I have been known to hang wallpaper (occasionally the right way up), I have fitted a carpet in the last six months, and many types of laminate flooring in the years preceding that, I rewired my house from scratch three years ago, and painting in emulsion, gloss or varnish holds no fears for me. I can turn my hand to many things, and only ever within the confines of my own home, in case of disaster.
One of the older houses in the village, my place usually has a drip somewhere. This is well beyond the realm of my knowledge, and doesn’t seem like the sort of thing I can guess my way through.
When there have been deeper problems, for example, when the washing machine started spurting a cascade of water from a wall pipe, when the ball-valve in the loo wouldn’t rise – causing the inflow to chug water into the cistern and out through the wall, when the dishwasher needed fitting, I called the plumber. He’s a lovely chap and I have a lot of time, and usually work, for him.
I mentioned the dripping tap to the plumber the last time he visited. I thought, since he was here and had all his tools with him, it wouldn’t take him a minute.
He replied that, yes, a dripping tap was very annoying. I agreed. He hummed for a while, finished whatever job I’d hired him for, and then left with a smile.
I should have asked. I know I should have asked. However, his non-offer emboldened me.
Clearly, he didn’t think I needed him for a dripping tap. It must have been the kind of thing I could manage by myself.
So, I looked it up on YouTube. Indeed, drips and technology, we get it all in Devon. And there it was. How to change a tap washer.
I got my tools together.
I followed the instructions.
I turned the water off at the mains, and took a moment to feel some level of pride. I removed the cap at the top of the tap using a flat screwdriver. So far, so good. I took my Philips screwdriver and unscrewed the upper body of the tap. No problem at all.
The instructional guide stated I would need an adjustable wrench. I went shopping. I bought an adjustable wrench. I returned to the tap. I applied the adjustable wrench, remembering lefty-loosey, righty-tighty, and attempted to turn the locking nut left, while holding the body of the tap firmly in my other hand. Nothing. I pushed all my body weight into moving the locking nut. Nothing. Every ounce of me went into pushing the adjustable wrench towards the window. Nothing.
I may have to move house.