When it comes to DIY, you can probably skip right over both me and my husband if you are looking for help. It is not that I am unwilling, it is just that I have little patience or ability and as soon as I have to start measuring things and being ‘accurate’ or ‘caring about stuff’ my enthusiasm wanes. As for my husband, he does not even get that far and would rather sit in a crumbling building than attempt to do anything to fix it.
Actually I do him a disservice here, he does like electricity (so he informed me), it is just that I won’t let him near anything like a live wire, so the closest I have got to seeing him perform any DIY is when I was watching as he defrosted an ice machine with a hairdryer about fifteen years ago.
I was washing up today after lunch. We had been to the beach, which we had not been expecting to do as rain was forecast. The rain did not appear, but the temperature was cooler and felt even more so because of the 40km/h winds that were gusting about. The nice thing about cooler days is that the sea feels warmer. The bad thing is that on windy days the sand, which normally gets everywhere anyway, gets everywhere and then some as it covers everything mercilessly.
As I was washing up I noticed that the water coming out of the hot tap was cool. I waited a while, to see if perhaps it was making its way down a long pipe, but after a few minutes it became clear that it was not going to get any warmer.
I went outside to where my husband was sitting in the relative sanctuary of the patio.
‘I think we may have a problem, Houston,’ I announced.
‘What is wrong?’ he shouted back over the noise of the banana leaves rustling like a panic in a taffeta factory.
‘I think the pilot light may have been blown out by the wind,’ I said, ‘There is no hot water.’
He got up and went into the shower. I heard water and a few minutes later he emerged.
‘Yup,’ he said.
Finding the water heater was easy enough, but working out exactly what combination of its buttons it wanted me to press was not immediately obvious. I have privately cursed the Internet recently – doomed as I feel to read incessantly about the grim fallouts of Brexit and the US election – it is depressing stuff. But today the Internet was my friend. Today I Googled the water heater system and in seconds found a (quite good looking, actually, tbh) plumber who told me exactly how to re-light my pilot light and warned a number of times what to look for if there was a more serious problem (or ‘blockage’ as he termed it). He also told me his telephone number and told me to give him a call if I needed him.
I returned to the side of the building and held down Button A while pressing Button D and hoped for the best. I could not hear if anything was happening because of the hurricane roaring about my ears, but pressed Button B anyway to finish off the process. I looked through the tiny porthole for the pilot light but the blinding sun made it difficult to see. I just hoped for the best.
Back in the house, I turned on the tap and waited. Sure enough hot water came forth, lit by the fire that I had brought from the Internet to a small cottage in Western Australia.
I went back out to my husband.
‘Fixed it,’ I announced.’I have taken fire from the gods of the Internet and delivered it to us as humans.’
‘You know that sign up the road?’ he asked, ‘The one that says they have social tennis every Wednesday?’
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘What do you think they have the other days of the week?’ he said. ‘Would Thursdays through Tuesday be anti-social tennis then?’
See what I mean? No interest in DIY at all.