Take my shower. It's never been very good. Oh it looks great as I got it new when I had my bathroom completely redone a few years ago. But the plumbing in this house was done during the war (The Crimean War) and the pipework in the loft makes the map of the London Underground look simple. The water pressure is so bad that I have to run around under the shower head just to get wet.
But I've put up with it as I'm rarely in a rush when I shower and it gives me the chance to not just sing along to a few singles from an album on my shower cd player but to get in the whole album !
But in April, when I got home from wintering in Florida and turned the water supply back on, it went from being a pathetic dribble to a trickle. I put my extensive plumbing skills to good use by going up into the loft, looking at all the pipes and giving them a good glare and the occasional shake and deciding it was all too much for me to deal with right then. That was almost 3 months ago and last week even I had had enough.
I asked a kind friend, Ken, for help and between us we came up with a plan, not a cunning plan, just a plan. My shower needed a pump installed to give the water pressure a much needed boost. An electric shower wouldn't have been any good as that just heats the water and doesn't increase the pressure so a pump was ordered. Not just any old pump mind you. Oh no. When I do eventually get things done, I get them done.
So yesterday the big day arrived, as did my friend and the pump. We had a coffee, talked about stuff and then the work began. By that I mean he installed the pump and I kept the coffee coming !! But what a nightmare it was up there and at times I didn't so much think he was installing a pump as playing a sort of individual version of Twister. One leg would be over a pipe, the other one under a pipe and the rest of his body forming a human pretzel around the wooden loft beams. Getting into these positions was bad enough, but once there, he then had to cut pipes and install electrical wiring and, as his brilliant idea for stopping water coming out of the cold water tank was to use a big blob of blu-tac to bung up the outlet hole, we were constantly waiting for a flood of water to burst from the cut pipework at any time.
Oh the pressure, the pressure. For once I didn't want any pressure !
After 3 hours it was done. The blu-tac was removed, valves opened and we heard the water getting to the pump and with no leaks. Stage 1 complete. Then the pump was started and........silence. I was moving back and forth from the shower to the top of the ladder to try and be useful while Ken puzzled over this development. We knew it needed a flow of water around the pump to activate it as it's designed never to run 'empty' but it WAS getting a flow so why wasn't it running ? I did all I could do which was to twist the various shower controls one way and then the other as that's my thing. My only thing.
Then like a dam bursting, water came forth - and fifth and even sixth - and the pump started up. Hurrah !!!
The flow wasn't great but it was a start. I moved the water temperature dial and the flow increased. See, twiddling things can work ! I still wasn't impressed and then the pump started making noises like a 40 a day smoker and the water was coming in matching spurts. Time for drastic action and with nothing to lose I opened the hot water tap on the bathrom sink.
The pump stopped coughing, the water stopped spurting and to my amazement, the flow increased 10 fold and enamel was peeling off the back of the bath ! I had pressure !!!!!
In our semi professional plumbing way, we decided it was all down to a combination of the pump needing a while to 'bed in' and some air being in the pipework. Whatever, I finally had a shower that would drench me in 0.2 seconds, remove dirt and some body hair in 2.4 seconds and reduce me to a skeleton in about 5.6 seconds. I couldn't wait to try it out. Thank you, Ken.
Last night I barely slept. I also slept barely but that's another story. I was like a kid on Christmas morning and at 9am (Very early for me) I'd had enough and jumped out of bed and straight into the shower.
My bed is very close to the bathroom !
In the past I'd been able to get into the bath tub, turn on the shower and when it was at operating temperature, move in under it to try and get wet. Today I had to remain outside the bath, reach across to turn on the shower and within a few seconds, step in and across the flow which almost pushed me to the back of the bath.
OMG I felt like I was back on the deck of The Maid Of The Mist and all that was missing was my yellow poncho. The sponge was blown out of my hands and when I bent over to pick it up, I felt violated ! I wasn't so much showered as sand blasted. My internal organs have never been so clean. My blood is more pink than red. Homer Simpson has more hair than I do.
You get the picture. I have a shower, people ! A shower to be proud of. A shower that takes your skin, sends it off to be steam cleaned and puts it back with the top 2 layers missing. If you look upwards, this shower will give you a better face lift than a Hollywood plastic surgeon.
When I turned it off I stood there dripping with an insane smile on my face. Actually it wasn't a smile so much as the state my face was left in after the shower had acted like a wind tunnel. You know those shots you see when someone is in a rocket sledge or a parachutist has just jumped out of an aeroplane and is freefalling for the first 5 minutes. That was me and I loved it.
Gathering up the folds of loose skin I exited the bath and dabbed myself dry as I felt that using the towel the normal way really would remove the rest of my skin.
I'm sure the novelty will wear off but for now it's great and my plan is to get down and dirty and have another shower this evening. Having a power shower is all well and good but I can see I'm going to have to guard against going OCD.
Anyway for now I'm off to eBay to look for a yellow poncho. Wooohoooooo !!!