Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Professionals versus Amateurs

Some would say the difference between Professionals and Amateurs is the amount of training undertaken before they are qualified to take on a task, others that its the difference in cost, Professionals charging a lot more than Amateurs to carry out any given job. My definition of the Professional is the tools they take to do a job as opposed to those taken by an Amateur.

Which is why, today, Steve the electrician turned up to fix the water supply, or lack of, at Rock HQ with a blue box of tricks, an amazing utility belt, a roll of screwdrivers and accessories that would put a safe cracker to shame and a remotely operated pinhole camera. He also learned from last nights visit and brought an anti dog pooh blanket.

Me, I turned up with an orange handled hammer liberally coated with rust. My contribution to the delicate task ahead can be seen in the twigs at the top of the photo. Having achieved Professional status by his collection of toys Steve aka Inspector Gadget set about finding out why the pump would not.

Two hours of grovelling on his stomach he ascertained that the huge box of electrics was far too complicated for the job and bypassed all the spare circuits and wired the pump direct to a switch in the workshop. Hurrah, the pump worked, boooo! it wasn't pumping water as all the pipes were frozen. As it had been minus 8 here overnight this was hardly a surprise. It was good to find the pump working, worst case scenario was that removing the pump would cause the bore hole to collapse, visions of thousands of pounds engineers out here to drill it out again did cause panic for a while but thankfully we seem to have escaped that catastrophe.

As Steve was here we decided to take advantage of his gadgets, the bath has leaked for around 12 months so was definitely nearing the top of the to do list. Inspector Gadget set about the floor boards with his super duper power saw after a quick recce with the camera. Soon half the bathroom floor was neatly stacked and the leaky pipe sealed. Cheers cheers. Professionals we salute you.

Left to my own devices I tried to think of a way to get the now activated pump pumping water to the reservoir and so into the cottage. Armed with a bright red hot water bottle, which contrasted nicely with the hammer I placed the hot bot on the pipe. Plan. Melt the ice in the pipe, have the pump on, pressure of water would eventually shift the ice and water would come out of the overflow tap. Place pipe on tap, run pipe overland uphill to reservoir as underground pipes obviously frozen.

It didn't work.

Not until it was dark.


Tracey came in from the evening rounds saying that she had heard a strange hissing sound. Far too cold and early for snakes so it had to mean that the pump was at least doing something. I went out into the dark armed with a small and very Amateur torch. In its lack lustre beam I could see water jetting out from the tap on top of the bore hole creating a wonderful ice slide on the hill being used by Ryeland sheep who thought a whole new leisure centre had been opened just for them.

I removed thirty metres of unfrozen overland pipe from the stream and dragged it up the ice slope to the water jet, joking as I did that when I get there I would find the pipe I was carrying was 20mm and the pipe it needed to connect to was 25mm. Many a true word spoken in jest and by the light of a fading torch I fought the water pressure and managed to cobble a connection, luckily the 20mm pipe has a 25 mm sleeve and with a few sharp blows of my trusty orange rusty hammer the two pipes were persuaded to join and the bruising on my hand was a mere inconvenience.

Tap full on Tracey shouted that the Heath Robinson repair was in fact working, the reservoir was filling. What was even more amazing than the plan actually working was that the water from the bore hole was hot, warm enough to bath in.

So now we are safe back in Rock HQ, the tanks are filling, water is starting to dribble out of the taps, a funny colour but easier to access than dragging it from the well.

Amateurs rule!
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