Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Never mind the ballcocks

How nice to be typing this with hands that aren't chilled to the bone. How lovely to come through the front door this evening and feel warm air against my face. Yes, the central heating is back. Not that it ever really went away ...

It happened last year too. When we put the heating on after the summer break, the pump made a worrying weebling sound and nothing else happened. The engineer was called. He stuck his hand into the inaccessible cupboard space above the boiler, fiddled with something, and was rewarded with the sound of water gushing into a container. The tank that feeds the boiler had slowly drained over the summer and the ballcock that regulates flow had got stuck in the up position. Easy to fix.

So, this time, when the heating stopped working and the worrying weebling began, the tank was the first thing I checked. I got up on the ladder and checked the inaccessible cupboard space above the boiler. I peered in. There was the tank. There was the ballcock. There was water in it. I checked with my fingers. I jiggled the ballcock a little. No problem with the water supply, but no heating either. So we called the engineer. He stuck his hand in, fiddled with something, and was rewarded with the sound of water gushing into a container ...

Well, baptise me Morman and call me Stephanie - there's two tanks up there? I never knew. You have to get up a very wobbly ladder and really crane your neck to see either of them, but the main one is big enough that it stands out. The other is much smaller and you really have to crane to see it. Live and learn, people, live and learn. Or in this case, live somewhere for 18 years and then learn.

At least this now means two of the three reported Christmas malfunctions have been fixed: we have a working shaver light too. Just the leaky roof to go ...


  1. Anonymous5:08 pm

    Minor point: you had a repairman, not an engineer. His job may be difficult and underappreciated, but it certainly isn't engineering.

  2. He also installs, so does that make him an installer+repairman? He might not be much cop on a starship; he might not design networks or maintain nuclear reactors; but to me he's an engineer.

  3. Anonymous11:25 pm

    Technician is the word I'd use - but you're the published novelist and professional publisher!

    The issue with 'engineer' as a title is tied to the devaluing of science/maths degrees, IMO. I'm studying for a degree in mechanical engineering and the number of people who ask why I didn't just start an apprenticeship at a garage is more than a little annoying. In most countries, it's illegal to call yourself an engineer without the qualifications, just like 'doctor' or 'colonel' in the UK... but now I'm rambling. Sorry for nitpicking - keep up the interesting blogging!


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