28,103,832 drips

Our kitchen tap drips. We first noticed this some time around 23rd March 2020 – the day when Boris Johnson went on TV, straining to project gravitas as he announced the first national lockdown – so as I write, that’s exactly a year ago.

Now, if our boiler packed in during February, we’d get it sorted, pronto, pandemic or not. Skybox? We’d roll the dice and have a man in to fix it within hours. WiFi? Totally take our chances on a potential lethally infectious engineer, to avoid being reduced to Conversation, reading “books” and playing Scrabble®️.

But a dripping tap, that’s trivial, surely? “Ah, Rik, caught Covid from the plumber and died. All because he got annoyed by a dripping tap and didn’t know how to fix it.” Not a speech anyone wants to hear at their funeral. Oh, right, well you know what I mean.

Also, we had a workaround. I discovered that if I moved the tap over the curve of the sink the dripping became inaudible, at least to my ageing ears. So I could live with it, sort of, if I remembered to move the tap back to the edge of the sink after every use.

I’ve just spent a happy minute counting 84 drips. It’s accelerated sharply over the year: I estimate that the average “drip rate” over the period was 53.47 drips per minute, seven days a week, day and night. No wonder Betty refuses to sleep in the kitchen. (For clarity, Betty is our dog. Not the housemaid.)

So, 53.47 drips x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days = 28,103,832 drips since 23 March 2020. That could drive a man mad. At least I’ve kept my sanity, right?

The tap

Just how much water has this wasted? And how much has it cost me? In ten minutes, I collected 195 millilitres. So, 0.195 litres x 6 (per hour) x 24 hours x 365 days x 53.47/84 (to adjust for the average drip rate) = 6,524.1 litres since Boris spoke on the telly. For older readers, that’s 11,480.81 pints.

My water is charged at £0.9848 per cubic metre, or £0.0009848 per litre, so this dripping tap has cost me £0.0009848 x 6,524.1 = £6.42. Ok it won’t break the bank. But, I’m afraid, shockingly wasteful: my water usage over the last 12-month billing period was 210 cubic metres. So the dripping tap was 3.1% of my total consumption – and that includes brushing my teeth, teas and coffees, my monthly shower, everything.

Should I have tried to fix it? How hard can it be? No doubt very simple if you know what you’re doing. But I don’t, you see. Before I got as far as researching the task online, an image settled in my brain: the image of a plumber in waders shaking his head, and saying “Oh dear, what have you done here?” – a nightmarish echo of Mr Vale, the man who tried to teach me woodwork, gathering the class around: “Come and see what Edwards has done.” No, best not to try. I’ll pay the £6.42, thanks.

Post script July 16, 2021:

9 thoughts on “28,103,832 drips

  1. This is absolutely brilliant. Had me guffawing so much that Marilyn called out asking whether I was alright. However, you need to reach a bigger audience. I’m sure a paper or magazine would pay good money for this nonsense. It might even cover your £6.42.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw you’re too kind Andrew. Of course I’d love it to reach a wider audience, but my City career seems to have satisfied my appetite for hustling – I just enjoy writing it. Mind you, if anyone out there wants to pay for exclusive content…

    Like

  3. I feel thoroughly glad to hear that you did not decide to leave the plug in the sink.

    Good to hear about Mr Vale. I still have two very useful boxes that I made courtesy of his teachings. One of them still contains the remnants of my mecanno set. It prompted me to go in search of WBGS on Google Maps, and there in glorious 3D, was a total absence of Mr Vale’s pride and joy cricket shelter, made by his own fair hands, and now gone! Mortified I was. I spent many a lunchtime in that shelter, scoffing my lunch.

    I do probably have a tap washer if you need it. If you could just take out the old one and let me know the size, I can send it to you, and you could then simply get a plumber to fit the new one.

    Liked by 1 person

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