Running hot water

Having lived not far from Hadrian’s Wall, where there’s a lot of archaeological evidence of the Roman occupation, I’m aware that the concept of hot water on demand is not exclusively a modern lifestyle.

But perhaps the universality of running hot water, if one can afford it in these times of cost-of-living crisis, is more contemporary; I think that only the ultra-rich and powerful in Roman times experienced this luxury. Today, mostly, we take hot water for granted.

But that doesn’t mean that a hot shower is not a daily joy, or a hot evening bath hardly a special indulgence. It is, however, a special joy for me because I have just replaced a dodgy switch that meant our hot water was more intermittent than consistent.

I’ve had cause to lose confidence in my fixing abilities, over the past weeks, and I approached this small DIY task with some trepidation. I wasn’t worried about electrocuting myself, having toggled off the circuit breaker for the water heater. But would my fingers manage to tighten all the screws required to make good contact in the new switch connnections? I wasn’t sure.

As it turned out, the connections were not easy to sustain. Wires firmly attached within their screw-hold kept popping out. Over and over again I placed them back, tightened again, groaned as they extricated themselves one more. A few choice words emanated from pursed lips. Finally, after much perseverance and diligence in wire bending, it seemed all was safe and secure, and I was able to find the fastening screw holes too. The switch tightened up against the wall and it was time to flick the circuit back on.

I did hold my breath, awaiting a sudden darkness, though I’d turned on our camping lantern in anticipation of sudden power loss if the Residual Current Device should register an anomaly in the neutral line. The lights stayed on. Time to test the switch.

The little indicator light came on too! The next thing to do was to wait to see if the water might heat up. An hour later, after dinner, I began to do the washing up. It felt warmer than it had over the past days. After an evening of interesting television, featuring an apocalyptic scenario about some behaviour-modifying fungus, it was time to try the shower.

Oh joy, oh frabjous joy as Lewis Carroll might exclaim. Hot water cascaded over my bowed head.

Now, can I manage to fix the refrigerator door attachment to the concealing cabinet front that’s been binding worse and worse over the past weeks?

We shall see, but at least I have a plan, and the planning also helps to restore some of my confidence.

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