Well, not precisely the drain. The toilet cistern. I have been plumbing.
Now to put this into context our toilet, like many other things in this house, is old. As in vintage, though not antique. My best guess is that the toilet and bathroom suite was installed in 1948 so that makes it sixty years old. That's old for something that's in daily use. And like many old things, myself included, it gets cranky. You have to treat it with a little respect and go with its moods, like when it flushes itself at 3am. Sometimes it jams up and refuses to flush. Sometimes it burbles to itself. It always seems to sort itself out in the end.
It's never been quite happy though since our central heating engineer took it upon himself last year to change a washer or something. I could have told him that this was a step too far for the old Loo. Last time before that a plumber went near old Loo he told me I'd have to scrap it because some essential rubber widget had perished and that size of bit hadn't been manufactured for thirty years or more. I cut a new widget out of an Ikea mouse mat, fitted it and Loo went on quite happily for another seven years, until that engineer chap fiddled with his washers.
However last week we had a catastropic shut-down, as in Loo would not fill. Something wrong with the ballcock valve (?) I deduced, consulting my 1970's copy of The Readers Digest New DIY Manual. I rolled up my sleeves...
I've got one great failing in DIY though...I'm not good at the brute force bit. I've got small hands and anyway, I'm not keen on forcing old bits of things to move in case they self destruct. I did not want to apply the force necessary to take some of the very seized up parts apart. I did manage to get Loo working again, but only just. He kept relapsing. This was not good. I decided we had to get a plumber and told Hubby this. Hubby then pointed out we're skint as church mice and the big car is due its MOT this month. Argh!
So, when I came in from spinning Guild tonight and discovered that yet again Loo was not working I decided that since the choice was between spending the money I've been saving up for the kids Christmas pressies or jolly well fixing it, I was going to FIX it. Kill or cure. I got out the hammer....
...and I did what the Readers Digest had been telling me to do all along to it, which involved bashing out a split pin with the hammer, taking the entire brass ballcock mechanism apart (more brute force) and some serious work with a file. Then I reassembled everything, turned on the water again and held my breath.
And it all works. Perfectly. Not a mutter, not a murmer. Perfect. I was so pleased with myself I woke up the kids to tell them, and now I'm telling you lot. Round of applause, SVP!