Monday 20 May 2013


A productive weekend including a remarkable achievement on the DIY front. I managed to remove and replace the broken-down waste system under our kitchen sink and it doesn't leak! You may not be impressed but you need to understand that I am the person who does not know how to open the bonnet of my car - embarrassing when you are asked to do so by the mechanic at Stadium Garage.

The Great Sink Crisis came about because of a significant deterioration of a three-year-old blockage in the waste to the point where no water was getting out. Ham-fisted investigation of this led to disintegration of the bolt holding the waste onto the plug-hole and consequent catastrophe. Having bought the parts from Homebase I composed myself with maximum Zen coolness (like a bomb disposal operative) in order to address the problem and miraculously the parts fitted together as the instructions promised and it all worked a treat.

A top tip for fellow unhandy DIY chumps. Buy a Tesco sink plunger (£1.50) which has a formidable concertina of rubber which, applied with modest vigour after the sink was fixed, forced out a huge chunk of festering gunk into the outside drain (I didn't look too closely but couscous seems to have been the decisive factor in completely blocking the pipe). For maximum effect you need to hold a wet cloth firmly over the sink overflow while you are plunging - to stop the pressure escaping that way. A plunger will usually do the trick and should be deployed before any unpleasant dismantling of the trap and pipework is attempted (I now realise).

This success massively impressed Mrs Blog who, I am afraid, had had zero confidence in my ability to meet the challenge ("Oh ye of little faith!") and so had to eat her words. Bucked by this triumph I went on a celebratory walk among the spring flowers and performed a good gym session including a swim outside in the sunshine under an azure sky - I felt as Lord Byron must have done when he swam across the Hellespont (well, a bit).

Tiring but very satisfactory...