We now return to our continuing series titled When Household Machinery Goes Rogue.
In Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Lord Byron refers to the hell of waters when they howl and hiss. I am here to tell subscribers it's not much fun either when your water supply goes missing on a Sunday night.
Last week we found ourselves in that interesting situation. The first company we contacted could not send someone immediately but we managed to find a plumber able to come out. She (yes, a lady plumber) arrived at Casa Maywrite accompanied by two young fellows who looked to be in their late teens and whom we deduced were her sons. We came to this conclusion because they called her mom. Let me pause here to point out that was yet another demonstration of our advanced deductive powers. We believe they were apprentices -- theirs was a family business -- because she explained everything to them in detail and answered questions as she went along. Not to mention they knew exactly what to bring her when she asked them to get some plumbing fiddly widget or other from their van.
By the end of their visit the drainage tap, gauge, and pressure switch had been replaced on the well's pressure tank situated behind the fridge under the stairs, there being nowhere else for either to be placed. This is, as I occasionally remark, an eccentric house.
A few hours after they left there was no water in the loo tank.
Next day brought a second plumber who was here about three and a half hours, during which he fixed the loo's lack of water (diagnosed as sand from the well choking its water inlet tube). Since he was here anyhow we asked him to change all the taps in the bathroom as well as replace the shower head, thus ticking off a couple of tasks on our jobs to get done list.
A few hours later we discovered there was no water in the loo tank or any of the taps. A second visit got water flowing, Alas, it was black and gritty, not a good sign. Even after running all the taps the problem kept coming back. And there still no water in the tank. However, hot water stayed clean, because the gritty sand had settled to the base of the water heater and we were getting hot water from the top. Just to keep things exciting, the heater began kettling. Lord Byron spoke true.
It was obvious the problem involved the well itself, meaning it would have to be pulled for examination. A couple of possibilities mooted in our discussions were shortening the water line in the well so as to keep the pump above the clart at its base or in the worst case scenario replacing the pump. We decided to do the latter as it was over a decade old and approaching the average time when it would become likely to give up the ghost. While at it we ordered a new pressure tank as well, given it was at least twenty years old and if it conked out another visit would be necessary.
The final act of the saga was the glorious day when two plumbers were here six hours on the Friday of the week in question. It was quite a sight to observe plumbing the well's depths involved laying over 120 feet of water line and accompanying wiring straight across our lawn, over the one next door, and a little way down the road. As it turned out, the pump had fallen into the mire on the well floor and had in technical plumbing jargon "gone bad". Mud had also choked the water lines. The pump was a sorry sight, moving one plumber to observe he had never seen anything like it.
After they left, we may not have had a chicken in a pot but we had water in every place it should be, not to mention the water heater had been drained and refilled, thus correcting the kettling. We are again considering taking wagers as to which piece of household machinery will be next to go rogue.
I would observe last week was very draining on us but then boots would be thrown. But as events unfolded I thought more than once of The Gas Man Cometh. A favourite Flanders and Swann song*, it relates a series of repairs required to correct the previous day's repair. As the duo so rightly remark, those repairs all made work for the working man to do.
* Audio at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1dvAxA9ib0&ab_channel=NancyDeHaven