I have something to add to the other week’s rant about bathroom fittings that aren’t fit for purpose – something that winds me up no end. And that is (drum roll please): hot and cold taps that have been put on the wrong way around. So the cold tap, marked “C”, runs hot and the hot tap, marked “H” runs cold. It drives me mad. And you’d be surprised – or perhaps not – at just how many sinks have wrong-way-round taps.
Why is this even a thing? How hard can it be to connect the cold tap to the cold pipe and the hot tap to the warm one? Correct me if I’m wrong, any plumbers who are reading, but surely it’s not the most complicated task in the world? I mean, there’s a 50/50 chance of getting it right even if you just guess. Which appears to be what many people who plumb their sinks in seem to do. (Maybe it’s DIY-ers who do it wrong. Who knows. I could be wrongly accusing an entire trade! They might turn up at my house waving their pipes in a threatening manner!)
I realise it’s not a widespread or particularly serious problem (Back to Front Taps bring Britain to Standstill) but I’ve been to three houses recently that have all had back to front taps. Ornately etched with curly writing – Cold and Hot – but with the wrong bloody water spouting out. I’ve brushed my teeth with hot, washed my face with cold, waited for about three hours for the drinking water to run cool enough to consume without gagging. Just put the bleeding taps on the right way around! It’s not rocket science!
The worst thing, though, is if you have wrong taps in your own house, and anyone who comes to visit has to be given the Wrong Tap Speech when they go to pour themselves a glass of water. “The cold is hot and the hot is cold!”, you say, through gritted teeth. (I’ve lived in two houses with wrong taps, I’m experienced in this.)
And again – sorry to harp on – but surely connecting the taps to the right pipes would be a key skill if you’re a plumber? One of the most basic-yet-important things in the plumbing knowledge base? That and being able to install a toilet that flushes properly and doesn’t make a waterfall sound for twelve solid days after the chain has been pulled. (Don’t get me started on toilets that don’t have a chain or flush handle. Those metal buttons set into the wall! Always too stiff and too small, bending your fingernail backwards as you poke poke poke, fruitlessly.)
Imagine if other people got such fundamental parts of their job wrong. If surgeons constantly amputated the wrong body parts, for example, or sewed the wrong bits back together.
“Nurse? Oh God. Nurse? NURSE!”
“Yes, Mr Foxley?”
“Oh for Christ’s sake, nurse, I’ve done it again.”
“Not the head put on backwards again, Mr Foxley?”
“No, I’ve sewn the right hand onto the bottom of the left leg and the foot’s all asunder.”
Now I’m obviously not comparing major surgical errors with the minor inconvenience of having to remember that your hot tap is the cold tap and your cold tap is the hot, but you catch my drift.
“For f*ck’s sake Brian, did you just do the service on that Jeep? You’ve put the engine oil into the washer fluid reservoir again!”
“Ah, don’t worry, they’ll get used to it. They just have to clean a patch on the windscreen big enough to peer through – they can use one of those alcohol wipes. Tell them their MOT’s up in a month’s time and all.”
My friend Tasha had an old mini when we were in sixth form and the horn had accidentally been (somehow) wired into the indicators so every time we turned a corner it beeped. I found it hilarious, but it did raise questions about the mechanic’s proficiency.
Anyway, I’m sliding into a tangent that I’ll perhaps never return from so I’m going to go now. I’m also trying not to rant so much because I’m not sure it’s good for my health. If, however, you want to read about ill-designed sanitaryware then please do click here.