Fancy a holiday? Then join me at "Wit's end".

Yes Playmates, that's where I've been today; at my "Wit's End"! I really don't know why I cannot learn simple lessons, is it my age, do you think (senility looming?) or just plain stupidity, or what?

Surely a 'normal' person would realise that after so many disasters one shouldn't go looking for more? No, no; la, la!

All it was was a leaking tap in our upstairs kitchen! Being skinflints when it comes to our own domestic needs; I fitted a cheap chatty Chinese tap in our kitchen (in the bedroom, remember?). I had quite a bit of trouble with it when I put it in in the first place, and when I removed it today, I found out why! The hot and cold pipes in the wall weren't exactly parallel, the cold one was a fraction out and I would rectify this before offering up the brand new mixer tap which had been expensively obtained earlier from friendly Mr Shawky down on Youssef Hassan St.

Now then, how to turn the pipe fitting in the wall by about an eighth of and inch without damaging the internal threads? Answer: go back to Mr Shawky and get him to thread a piece of iron pipe, then screw it into the fitting and push or pull the pipe sideways, easy-peasy!  And that, Dear Reader, is exactly what I did; and it worked! However, whilst unscrewing the new piece of pipe/tool, didn't the fitting screw off with it? Now I was left with an externally threaded pipe end, sunk about an inch into the wall! Lovely, eh? Time for a cuppa and some chocolate, obviously!

The fitting in question was a cast iron twin threaded female pipe coupling, and it was pretty grotty, so I decide on a new one. I was struggling to imagine how I could confidently seal the joint which would actually be inside the wall. I mean; I couldn't possibly wrap it with hemp, as there was barely a quarter of an inch space around the pipe! After a deal of thought, I decided to plaster the inside threads of the fitting with silicone sealer, surely that would do the trick?

Off I trotted again to Mr Shawky's, for the third time in an hour. I knew where the pipe couplings were, so put my hand into the bin and picked one up, Shawky reached a tube of silicone down from a high shelf behind the counter, 17le. Happy as a sandboy, I made my way back to Our Luxor, determined to have the job finished in a jiffy!  W R O N G!!!!

The coupling was about a quarter of an inch short. Damn and blast! (As my Mother would say when she's really really annoyed.) Another stroll down to Shawky's, where the son and I struggled to find the right length, but he did eventually; no extra charge. I had foolishly imagined that pipe couplings would all be the same length, well, you would wouldn't you? The stairs were now starting to take their toll on my stupid old knees, and I could sense that I was snapping at poor Freda when she was only trying to be helpful, bless her.

That's another thing, as well! When we decided to have our kitchen in the bedroom, we had to have a plumber move pipework around to give us two cold taps (the other one being for the washing machine) and one hot. In the process, it transpired that the new cold offshoots came from the main feed pipe before the stopcock, which means that to turn off the water to our upstairs kitchen; the water had to be turned off altogether downstairs at the pump!!!!! More traipsing up and down!

Never mind. I coated the fittings for the taps with silicone and hemp, and while the hot one went straight into place, the cold one had to go into the new female coupling and then onto the old pipe end inside the wall. I slapped a fair dollop of silicone into the internal threads and screwed it on, hoping for the best, as you do! (I should add that as I know that silicone sealant has to be applied to dry surfaces; I had spent about 15 minutes drying and warming the 'in-place' fitting with Freda's hair dryer!)

Only then, did I realise that we wouldn't be able to use the water until the silicone had 'cured'; about 24 hours!!!!!!! I was sweaty and annoyed, and hungry and dirty! Then I had a brainwave (are you sure, Edward?) if I turned on the cold tap, then turned on the water; there'd be no pressure on the silicone to cause any problem as the water would just be running straight through the tap, yes? Then I could have a shower, good idea? Of course I'd have to try it first, so I got Freda to stand by the turned-on tap, and see what happened when I went downstairs again and turned on the main. I would speak to her via the telephone.

"Right then, Dear, I'm turning it on, NOW."........."Oooooh, turn it off, turn it off. It's spaying out all over the place!" Damn and blast again!

When there's only one other person there; it's obvious that she's the one that you're going to kill. isn't it? But, by the time I'd tramped back up the stairs (again) I couldn't have lifted the fly swatter, never mind a heavy 'blunt instrument'! That was it! I now realised that I hadn't learnt the lessons which should really have sunken in long before now, I would go and find Hany the plumber. (In saying that, it's OK learning the lesson that tradesmen have there trades, and that you shouldn't really muck about when you're not sure of what you're doing. But what about when you cannot find any tradesmen who have any sort of clue of what they're supposed to be doing anyway?)

Thankfully, that's not the case with my dear friend Hany. I only wish I'd known him earlier! He came, he saw, and he conquered! All it had been was that I had over-tightened the cold tap connecting nut, and split the rubber washer, would you believe it? But, then again, I'm more used (or used to be more used) to tightening cylinder head bolts to 150 pounds per square foot, or whatever, and not 'nipping' daft joints with rubbishy rubber washers in between!

Here's the finished article, all-in-all it cost 232le and a lot of bad temper!

But among all that upset, we learned that our Egyptian friends had voted overwhelmingly to endorse the new constitution and also that friend Hany has finally gotten engaged. So not a bad day after all, perhaps it's the beginning of a better new year for Egypt and her people?


1 comment:

  1. mmm, I can understand that iron pipes are used a lot over there, being cheaper than copper, what I cant understand is the 'plumbers' there dont use PTFE tape on threads rather than hemp (personally I would have used BSS white and hemp if I never had any PTFE tape)

    (BSS white is like runny putty, you use linseed oil to thin it down, then make sure its well sealed, lasts for years, it can be used without hemp as well)

    Even I have never had any joy using silicon as a thread sealant, I just use it for around baths and shower trays

    When you come back to the UK (or have a guest come over) ask them to bring a couple of rolls over (the gas type though) @50p a roll, they are a bargain and indispensible with iron pipe and threads

    My wife has now joined you in the bad knees club, it does seem a rather exclusive club

    Yes been watching the BBC 24 news, maybe things are on the up for Egypt, but only time will tell

    Congratulations to Hany, do we get to see the prospective bride ?