We have guests arriving and suddenly the loo broke down and the cooker . . . The loo looked fairly straight forward and I did some DIY in the cistern; this worked for a while providing you gave the button three 'clonks' perhaps not something to have to request of your 'invitees'. I tried to improve on it and then broke the whole thing. No plumbers answering phones, so I went to the plumber's merchants and spoke to a biker who was delightful: didn't sell me anything unnecessary, explained what to do with the thing I had bought and gave me the number of a local reputable plumber in case it - me, failed.
Yeah . . . instructions! bits of ratchety plastic! things to unscrew, tighten again, loose down the bog . . nope, need the right person for the job. Mark can play extraordinarily complex bits of Scriabin or Chopin but faced with a dribbling loo and a spanner or two - nope, 'non plus'. Luckily the plumber was free; came round with his backpack of tools, accepted a glass of water and tamed the bog - in about ten minutes. Lesson to be learned, hm - yes, don't DIY unless you have an awful lot of spare time and patience. There are people who know about theses things, just as I know about . . . lots of other things.
The cooker . . . Oh, God, what a thing of fearful complexity. From the outside it looks Aga-like; friendly, solid, dependable, but when the 'special man' (electrician had sucked in his teeth and advised a specialist) unbolted it all and took the top plate off, it was full of wires and tiny skinny bits of metal as fragile as a spider's leg.
I went and tackled something simpler - cleaning the bathroom (I'm good at this - water, Jif, scrub, done) while he talked to himself - 'Alors, donc . . . cette fil blue, hm, pourquoi ça . . . ah, d'accord. Bon . . .alors, donc . . . cette fil marron, hm', etc. After two hours he announced he knew what it was and that IT would have to be ordered and that he would have to come back again when I had agreed to the price of the thing that was to be ordered, uh?
I suggested I didn't have much choice and perhaps he could just order it. I suppose I could haunt ebay for a few days, but time wasted and possibly not the right IT would be even more annoying. So Mark will have to suppress his cake-making urge for a few days' and we won't be able to offer our guests home-made bread, but at least the loo works.
Loo and oven I probably could mend