Saturday, 19 March 2016
I Fix A Faulty Flush
My son and I were discussing alliteration in relation to his upcoming GCSE poetry exam and the requirement for analysis along the lines of: Here, the poet uses alliteration to emphasise a point about Peter Piper's activity, perhaps to imitate the soft 'p' sound of peppers being picked. Though how those peppers came to be pre-pickled is less clear. He asked me whether, when I write a poem, I put things in for people to discover. "Um, no," I said. "Exactly my point," he retorted.
I'm not a big fan of alliteration either - it tends to draw attention to itself, and there's a danger that it will appear contrived. Note, for example, how the alliterative title of this blog has the effect of trivilising the plumbing feat I accomplished today after the toilet flush broke at 8.30am,
Whilst I welcome opportunities to extend my plumbing range (which has not, I confess, graduated beyond buying and replacing washers in the past couple of years), I saw my Saturday stretching ahead into a frustration of shopping for parts and finding screwdrivers of the right size. Sighing, I lifted the lid off the cistern, took out the snapped plastic arm that links flush to flush valve, pocketed it and then went to one of the best shops in the world, Abbey Hardware.
"I don't suppose you have one of these?" I asked the shopkeeper, taking the broken lever from my pocket, already bracing myself for the longer walk to the plumbing merchants. He challenged my unbelief with a firm smile.
Thirty-five seconds and £1.20 later, I was leaving with an adjustable lever arm and a sense of wonder. Not long after that, I'd fixed the flush. The faulty flush. I'd fixed the faulty flush fairly ... effortlessly.