I have a confession to make…

I’m really not very good at anything that constitutes DIY. I really wish I was for all the obvious reasons. I mean I can put up a shelf, construct flat-pack furniture sometimes and just about change a plug.

So, with the simplest of tasks, I can do it myself but it will take time. Otherwise, I invariably make mistakes. I would amuse you with a catalogue of stupid errors but the truth is, my memory very kindly deletes them pretty regularly.

The example I am about to provide you with is not even truly a DIY task – I don’t think. You don’t call in an expert to bleed your radiators do you? Our radiators have been playing up of late – not good, given the sub zero temperatures we’ve been experiencing in our part of the world.

My son’s radiator was the worst culprit and we had already bled the radiator once but it was not functioning properly again. Time for me to step up and deal with this on a day when I had the spare time to do so.

I grabbed a flat head screwdriver (I do know what one of those is).

The last time we had bled this particular radiator – there had been some water involved… I remembered this, and so I prepared carefully and brought a small, glass dish. I moved a couple of bits of furniture out of the way in order to have a clear view as well as provide a specific space in case the water tried to repeat this act of escape. I felt rather pleased that I was taking precautions and not recklessly rushing in to this task.

Satisfied that everything was in place, and having taken the time required for me to avoid making any mistakes, I proceeded to unscrew the valve. Air soon began to hiss outwards, which I knew was a good sign. For some reason however, I wasn’t convinced this was enough and vaguely recalled that the presence of a dribble of water would be an indication that the radiator was probably working properly again.

I loosened the valve further. Then a bit further again. Another revolution with the screwdriver and then…

Whoosh! The valve flew out with the same force of water that occurs when you put your finger over the end of a hosepipe (I have had that experience too).

Fortunately, the valve landed straight into the glass dish I had expertly positioned with my free hand to catch any excess water.

“No problem, it’s all under control,” I thought to myself.

I fished around for the valve and attempted to put it back into the tiny hole – and get the screwdriver on the end of it as quickly as possible.

At the same time, I had been using one of my fingers to plug the hole – for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, I could not keep this up for more than a few seconds due to the high temperature of the water. It was at this point that I feared that my fingers would get irreparably scalded… what was I to do?

The valve did not stay in the hole long enough for me to get a fix with the screwdriver and shot straight back into the dish.

Whilst all of this was going on and any kind of control was slipping from my grasp, the glass dish was filling up to capacity – rapidly.

Now what?

For a split second, I thought of those traumatic scenes in Titanic where the water is relentlessly pursuing Jack & Rose as they desperately try to escape. I pulled myself together – gave myself an internal talking to and reached up to open my son’s bedroom window.

The dish was literally about to overflow – but I had seen the light… I took the dish and threw the water out on to our drive. And onto my car.  I congratulated and comforted myself that at least it wasn’t going to land on anyone.

As the splash reached my ears, I realised what I had actually done. What an absolute idiot!

The valve had still been in the glass dish!

Now my fingers really were going to need medical attention! Either that or I had to find something, anything to plug the hole at least for as long as it would take me to run downstairs, out on to the drive and hopefully, find the valve and pray it hadn’t somehow bounced off the exterior wall and crept in through the front grill of the car.

First, I ran to the bathroom to get a towel. Then I ran downstairs to get a bucket; might as well get two things while I had left the room. I used the bucket to capture the water while I tried to figure out if the towel would work.

In between trying to position the bucket in order to capture the water (I challenge any DIY expert to do this easily) and shoving the towel over the hole, I had to empty the bucket out of the window at least twice before I was ready to make my move to retrieve the valve.  The whole time, aware that I could be washing the valve further and further into the outer reaches of the drive.

Eventually, I was at least partially satisfied that the towel would indeed stem the relentless mini-tsunami for another few seconds. I made a dash for it and ran outside, ensuring I put the front door on the latch, lest I lock myself out and slowly watch the house become a real-life disaster zone.

Miraculously (I did pray on the way!), I spotted the valve on the drive within seconds and raced back upstairs, clutching it in my hand.

Even more miraculously, I was able this time, to push the valve inside the hole and screw it back on in record time. I say record time but of course, as I explained at the beginning of this confession, a normal person would have fixed the radiator, run a bath and be halfway through Lawrence of Arabia in the amount of time it had taken me to get this far; or so it seemed.

Crisis finally over, I began the clean up operation in my son’s room, all the while wondering whether I should tell him anything at all about this. I figured it would make a pretty funny story and good job too, because by the time I had almost finished, save for a couple of dirty towels and a bucket and mop at the bottom of the stairs, he walked in through the front door and asked what had been going on.

The life lesson for anyone who needs it (I freely admit, I am probably the only one who needs the lesson),,,

Wait ’til your wife gets home.

Just so there’s an extra pair of hands you understand…

Nothing to do with who knows the most about ‘bleeding radiators’…

Frank Spencer

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Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.