The Plumbing

Does it seem to you that the plumbing is becoming more of a problem than once it was?

I wish I had paid more attention to the basics of normal household economy when I was a kid. Not that I wanted to become the house cleaner or cook then, but I would have a point of reference in respect to what I have to do today.

I came from Canada, which has its own plumbing problems – there’s plenty of water but winter temperatures turn it into a solid, rather than liquid, asset. Every fluid that comes into or goes out of a house is handled with this in mind – and in some areas of the the country the problem is permanent.

Here in Australia we do not need to do quite this much – Perth temperatures don’t require deep pipe burial or heavy lagging. Plastic pipes and exposed runs can be tolerated. The land is largely flat and sandy. We would expect it to be all that much easier – but I’ve seen more burst mains and clogged pipes here than ever in North America.

The household plumbing is more complex, too. Canadian houses of my childhood had one bathroom, one laundry, and one kitchen. Australian dwellings can have several of each of these rooms and they all need water and drainage. And the fixtures all seem to be much flimsier than the goods of the 50’s.

As a result, most Australians spend holidays doing plumbing fixes. The restrictions on shopping due to virus made this harder over Easter and June  – hence more loos are sitting full or empty when they should be neither.

I’m just grateful when the makers of the fittings do not change the measurements between one decade and the next. Fashion is all very well, but no-one needs a stylish water faucet that breaks in 3 years and cannot be replaced.

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