Pipes and boilers

May 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Ministry

They never taught the really necessary lessons in theological college.  Generations of clergy have been launched forth into the world without even the most rudimentary understanding of crucial things – like plumbing and electrics.

There is still no hot water in the taps.  Coaxing and pleading had no affect whatsoever upon a new immersion heater that simply refused to produce as much as a teaspoon of anything remotely lukewarm.

“Never mind, we’ll use the dishwasher”.  The dishwasher did not like being stirred from its months long slumber; it leaked water out onto the kitchen floor.  Opening the door revealed that the water that had not escaped onto the floor lapped sulkily around the interior.

It took an effort that might have induced a hernia to pull the dishwasher out from its recess.  The waste pipe was clipped into a drainage pipe at a level as high as the top of the dishwasher – water only flows uphill if its syphoned.  Draining the dishwasher wasn’t a problem and getting the waste pipe pushed into the drainpipe was easy.  Only when trying to push the brute back did it become clear that shifting the plastic pipes around meant they now blocked the return of the washer. Something was needed to hold them against the wall while simultaneously pushing, except the space was only big enough for the machine. String! Tying kitchen string around the pipes and passing it around a copper pipe on the wall meant it was possible to hold the pipes in position by pulling on the string, and to push at the same time.

The dishwasher worked.  Everything shiny; no water on the floor.

“You enjoyed doing that”.

“I did not!”

Fighting with a dishwasher ranks with running the fingernails down a blackboard in the enjoyment stakes.

This evening the attention has shifted to the central heating boiler, which failed to fire on account of the dishwasher engineer putting the red and blue pegs into the ancient time clock in the wrong order, and radiators that seem to warm up of their own accord.

Three years living in a new, state of the art, house leaves one rusty for those jobs that don’t merit calling someone and which certainly don’t merit disturbing someone at the weekend.  Life would be much easier if amongst all the esoteric material at college, there was a module on household maintenance.  Should anyone object that this was not what ministry was about, it should be sufficient to point out that Jesus was  carpenter and Saint Paul was a tentmaker.  Had the apostles been around today, they would undubtedly have included a plumber and an electrician.

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  1. Good luck with the plumbing. I spend most of my working life doing similar stuff on an industrial scale. When I get home I generally pay someone else to do it.

  2. You can actually buy a book called ‘How to do almost everything’ – however the net of course has all the answers – if you can follow the instructions!

  3. Paul,

    The church gives us houses we can’t afford to live in!


    I could write a book called ‘Unable to do almost anything properly’

  4. … and how to deal with a mouse population would be another useful course!

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