Saturday, 11 September 2010

It's a miracle!

Those of you who know me on Facebook will also know that here in Casa Loth we have had some toilet trouble recently. (Now, aren't you sorry you don't follow me on Facebook? Toilet problems - who doesn't want to read about that on a more or less daily basis?) More specifically, our downstairs loo (sometimes referred to as "the cloakroom" if we are feeling particularly elegant) gave up the ghost about 10 days ago. It just refused to flush. Nothing I did - you know, taking the lid off the cistern and peering in, poking the various components, bobbing the float up and down - made any difference. It was broken.

I carried out the limited diagnostic tests of which I am capable. Is there water in there? Check. Is the handle connected to the wee metal hooky bit? Check. Does the plunger-y bit go up and down when you pull the handle? Check.

At the limits of my limited expertise, I resorted to the all-knowing Dr Google who promptly diagnosed a faulty siphon. Not only diagnosed, but provided photos of the part in question and little video clips of how to remove and replace it. Husband and I conferred. He also tried the float-bobbing and handle-wiggling tests (just in case I had done them wrong) and he too could not get the flush to do its thing. It did appear that a new siphon was needed. We agreed that we are, ostensibly, grown-ups and should be able to tackle such a task ourselves.

We needed a new siphon, of course, which I went out and purchased. It turned out that we also needed a pipe wrench - a seriously efficient looking implement for removing and fitting......well, pipes. I even ventured forth to a proper tool shop (ie not one of those big warehouse-type chains but a proper shop with a bloke in overalls who goes and fetches what you want from the back of the shop) to buy said wrench. Husband agreed that it was something we would almost certainly need again at some point so we should just buy one.

I must tell you that when I bought the pipe wrench, I popped it into my handbag to carry it home. I have a large handbag as I tend to carry around a lot of junk (by which I mean books) and I put all sorts of stuff in it (today for example, it contained at one point a pair of slippers and two pairs of gloves as well as the usual purse, umbrella, notebook, diary etc). The man in the overalls looked mildly impressed and said "That's a rare big handbag." I nodded. "A girl's gotta have somewhere to carry her pipe wrench" I said.

Now I am slightly worried that he thinks I was buying a pipe wrench to carry around with me as some sort of offensive weapon ("Yeah, the claw hammer is okay for brute force but you can get a much better grip on the extremities with an adjustable pipe wrench")

Anyway, we were now all kitted up and the Great Siphon Replacement Project was pencilled in for this weekend. Until Husband went in to the loo to check we really did know where to turn the water off. He pulled the flush experimentally. And it worked. Repeatedly. It is still working now, hours later.

So I can only conclude that in fact we have a miracle on our hands: the Self-Healing Toilet of Edinburgh. Admission will be charged and I am, as we speak, working on my range of souvenir knitted toilet roll cosies. Place your orders now.


  1. It's a miracle! I wish some of that magic would find its way over the ocean to my kitchen, where I have a couple of small appliances that I would like to miraculously fix themselves.

  2. Ah, now have I ever told you about our upstairs toilet, which flushes but has never flushed very efficiently? How about coming and applying your healing hands, or indeed your pipe wrench, to it? Tempted? Yes?

  3. I had a similar thing happen to my car -- the battery was dead and it wouldn't start. And I called in to CAA for someone to come and boost me. Sitting there waiting, I idly turned the key one more time, and the engine roared into life. I had to call back and cancel the service call.

    I'm glad your toilet roared into life. But you never know when a pipe wrench might come in handy. You can always wave it about menacingly until whoever has the tv remote control hands it over so that you don't have to watch another car program.

  4. Do I follow you on Facebook? I have no idea. I can't remember anyone's damn real names.

  5. We just had to fix the antenna. The picture breaks up, one of us sets off to go outside to twiddle the antenna, after getting shoes on and getting to the door, the picture miraculously heals. Come back in take off shoes and it goes wonky again.

    And yes, we still get TV from broadcast over an antenna...

    So twentieth century...

  6. Yes indeed. My dipped beams failed to dip last week. I drove home giving offence to all. But when I took the car in the next day, they worked fine and have continued to work.
    So, I guess I have your toilet gremlin in my car now. Let me know when you want him back.