Plumbing the depths

Friday 27th January 2012

FITS most BS1010 & BS5412 Taps: which tells me nothing. Why not just call them hot and cold? And… most? I bet mine aren’t.

The Universal Tap Conversion Kit is also emblazoned with an enthusiastic banner, jauntily-angled and in fetching pink: NO PLUMBING SKILLS REQUIRED!

Alarmed almost to the point of walking out, selling up and moving abroad, I decide to come back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, news starts to filter through – in a drip-drip manner reminiscent of that sound from the kitchen sink I’ve endured these past three months – that the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland is about to be given his annual bonus. I can’t wait.

Another problem is the packaging: everything sealed in moulded plastic, making it impossible to read the small print or feel what it would feel like. Then there’s the question of the two almost identical kits available. What if I need the VPB PR rather than the plain VPB? Do I pay the extra 90p, to be on the safe side?

In addition to his annual salary of £1.2 million, he will receive £963,000 in shares.

I gather it’s not uncommon for people to face similar dilemmas when shopping for shoes, with final decisions taken only after much humming and ha’ing. But at least you can try them on. Us plumbers don’t get that luxury.

We… sort of, as taxpayers… own 82% of this bank. According to the BBC, the treasury was afraid the chief executive and much of the board ‘would have quit, if the payment had been vetoed by the government as the majority shareholder’.

I turn off the stop-cock, dig out the adjustable spanner. Its familiar weight and grip send a ripple of forgotten masculinity through fore-arm muscle.

Wasn’t it Margaret Thatcher who wouldn’t let workers hold the country to ransom?

Later, I look it up in the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms. To plumb the depths: 1. reach the extremes of evil or unhappiness; 2. inquire into the most obscure or secret aspects of something.

Hmm. Both in one day. At least I’m no longer irritated by that drip in the sink.

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2 Responses to Plumbing the depths

  1. Hello Marcus, my comrade in disarms,

    I wish to follow up Tony Hillier’s comment on the use of “ha’ing”.

    As, among other things, a proofreader and editor I have to know these things. I have been drawn over the coals and stretched on the rack of embarrassment for misuse of an apostrophe before now… So I checked and apparently the popular way to spell it is “hawing”.


    I have to admit I have always heard it pronounced “ha-ing” in England, but that really denies using an apostrophe to simply indicate a missing “w” – so maybe your version is right after all. Either that, or we have all been saying it the wrong way all these years.

    I can imagine those rippling plumbing muscles of yours. We may need those, if ever we get jailed together. We will also need a female friend who is good at baking cakes containing “plumbing implements”. Oh, and just remind her to forget the file, get her to bake a hacksaw into her cake – it’s quicker.


  2. Tony Hillier says:

    … and from what depths did you come up with the spelling for ‘ha’ing’ – can’t rember ever seeing that written down before – a good find

    and the article – high class as usual Marcus – keep ’em coming



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