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The notion 'plumber loving' usually invokes - at best - is Robin
Asquith in the 1970s 'Confessions of…' films, complete
with willing ladies and a wonderfully dog-faced Arthur Mullard. At
worst, visions of 'adult' German videos where a scantily-clad
blonde answers the door to a plumber (complete with bad mullet and
dodgy 'tache) and declares: "Mein gott! Vot a large wrench you have
there!" followed by "Oh boompson!" as her negligee falls to the
floor, leaving her naked and giving the plumber's cue to start
gurning. You get the picture. You do? You filthy man!
That 'plumbing' and 'love' is mentioned in February is
particularly cruel as this is the month when you wished you'd
called your plumber to service your boiler last November, as your
heating will invariably pack up in this, the coldest month of the
year. Then comes the thaw when you have to call him again,
this time to fix the leaking pipes you forgot to ask him to lag
after he'd sorted your boiler.
Yet this horror is as nothing compared to the two words that
strike fear in most men this month: Valentine's Day. You
know chocolates and flowers won't cut it and the only person around
to ask advice is the bloody plumber! Well calm down fella, he's
just the bloke you need.
For starters he's sorting your heating and what ever Gok may
say, naked men never look their best when the temperature
approaches 0o. And however adventurous your relationship
maybe, we're pretty sure your gal's idea of water sports doesn't
include leaking pipes. Strike two for our friendly tradesman.
But the real aces up our plumber's sleeve are his solutions to
your Valentine's gift problems, none of which require a mullet or
extensive knowledge of the films of Robin Asquith.
As readers of relationship guide: 'Women Are From Venus, Men
Are From Hell and Should Stay There, the Selfish Lying Gits'
will know, the bear-like male needs a 'den' to feel
inner peace. What the book fails to fully grasp is that women too
need their 'den'. That's why there's one room in every house that's
unquestionably female territory. Woe betides any man that should
sully this temple to womanhood with his selfish, sacrilegious
maleness, for she will defend this hallowed place with claws of
surgical sharpness: the bathroom.
Bathroom improvements demand much sensitivity, but if done well
she'll appreciate the real thought you put into this gift (that
this thought was it'll make the house more saleable is best kept to
oneself). It need not be costly either, depending on the bathroom's
state in the first place. If it's really rank, a decent clean (you
can rent steam cleaners by the day), new shower curtain or cubicle
(from £20 up) and a few scented candles can be done yourself and
will make a surprising difference.
If you're budget's healthier, ask the plumber (the one that's
fixing your boiler and leaking pipes) for his ideas. Any plumber
from a decent outfit will be happy to advise, especially if you've
just shoved a cuppa in his hands.
New, matching taps can add some good value style. For a more
dramatic difference, upgrade to a thermostatic power shower. Ask
your man there and look around DIY stores. You'll soon find ones
that give back change from £200.
Those hoping the wow factor will get them an invite at bath
time, check out some baths with the taps at the side - much more
comfortable for two. Alternatively, a shower with multiple heads,
so your whole body gets sprayed constantly, can be most…
So if it's a few pounds or a few hundred you have, such gifts
will be so memorable you'll both want to get dirty. Just remember
that bathroom fixtures and fittings cannot be bought at the garage
on the way home, nor can a Corgi registered plumber to install
Finally, if your beloved surprises you with a gift of the
complete boxed set of Robin Asquith's 'Confessions of…'
films, let alone those German jobbies, there may be things about
her you don't know but sure will have fun finding out this February
14th. Happy Valentine's day!
The weekend had given Mavis two days to come to terms with the
news of Ted's prostrate cancer. So that's why Ted's behaviour had
been so uncharacteristic of him recently. Not that this knowledge
made Ted's absence on Monday morning any easier for Mavis and her
worry for him only grew. Was Ted OK? Had he been for more tests or
had he just felt too ill to come in? Mavis couldn't even offer him
some words of comfort. By 5pm Monday Mavis was in an even worse
state than she had been at 9am, as impossible as that may seem.
Fortunately, Ted was back at work on Tuesday, just in time to
stop Mavis snapping like and over-wound spring. Calmed by his
presence, Mavis could see from the vantage point of her trolley
that everyone had 'tea and sympathy' for Ted in abundance. Although
well intentioned, Mavis could also see that it didn't take Ted long
to get fed up with words like: "I'm so sorry to hear about your,
your illness," from everyone he met. If people had to talk about
his prostate cancer, Ted wished they'd just come out and say
'cancer' rather than struggling with euphemisms that were
uncomfortable for both of them?
Mavis cracked a small joke about her colleague's awkwardness and
was pleased to see her approach was the right one. It had Ted
genuinely smiling for the first time in days. Having lost her own
husband to lung cancer some five years ago, Mavis knew that most
sufferers would rather talk about something else if people couldn't
just call a spade a spade when asking about their cancer.
Mavis also knew that prostate cancer, if caught early enough,
could often be treated successfully, far more so than most other
types of the disease in men. So when she heard Ted would get his
results revealing if the cancer had spread from his prostate on the
following Monday, she knew this weekend would be the hardest he'd
have to face in this battle so far.
Typically for our kind hearted tea lady, she told Ted to call
her at any time. Ted had many such offers but he instinctively knew
Mavis's offer was entirely genuine. All they could do now was wait
for Monday, either alone or together.
The New Year came and went just as Xmas had done before, until
that horrible day could not be forgotten or ignored anymore: the
first day back at work.
This day is so universally abhorred it's almost a fundamental
part of human nature. Like a psychological self defence mechanism,
we humans dread this day so much that, when it actually happens,
parts of our subconscious are jumping up and down, screaming: "Hey,
this ain't so bad, isn't it what we did before all those presents,
turkey, kids and stuff made the last couple of weeks stress hell?
Yeah, I think it is. Let's go talk to some people around the drinks
cooler or maybe a tea trolley!"
And so Mavis found herself dispensing the beverage 'that cheers
but not inebriates', and by lunchtime it was like nothing had ever
changed. Only for Mavis something had changed: Operations Manager
Ted and Mavis went way back, back further than any of her
colleagues knew. If they did they'd know that they'd gone to school
together and, ever so briefly, had been sweethearts. But new jobs
happen and new people are met and before you know it Ted and Mavis
were slipping shiny rings on fingers and saying "I do", only to two
completely different individuals altogether.
Still, both Mavis and Ted were pleased when found themselves
both working for DU.IT. And Mavis thought she knew when Ted was not
right. True, being in and out of the office, sometimes for days at
a time without anyone knowing where he was gave the game away just
a bit. See young Ted had grown into a not-so-young Operations
Manager. This was a pretty high-powered role for a building and
Maintenance Company, so such behaviour was a clue not even the
dimmest Watson needed Sherlock pointing out for him.
Then there was his 'attitude'. Usually a friendly guy,
especially with Mavis, his manner had become short as if he had
somewhere else to be. Not rude as such but, when someone won't make
eye contact with an old friend, Mavis new something was up. On
Friday 15th of January at 4.00pm, Mavis, and her colleagues, were
to find out just what….
Everybody was asked to meet their line manager for a meeting at
that time. As Mavis didn't really have one, Colin the MD had asked
her to have tea with him. Everyone was concerned - were there to be
redundancies? Times were tough but DU.IT still kept its entire
staff busy so what was up?
Come 4pm on Friday Mavis entered Colin's office, wondering if
she was to lose her job. She wasn't, Colin quickly assured her. But
Mavis wished she was when he revealed the truth about Ted, the
reason for the absences and his uncharacteristic manner. "You see
Mavis," said Colin, "I'm sorry to tell you that Ted has prostrate
cancer. He wants to carry on as normally as possible while he
fights this thing, undergoing treatment and such, and it's up to us
to help him." Mavis mentally promised that she would - no matter
how much that promise may cost her.
To be continued ...
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