On The Job – (Fiction)

Good morning. Please come in. The drain in the kitchen sink is blocked, and the cold tap won’t stop dripping. I don’t want the water flooding over the top, so I called you urgently. Do you think you can fix it?

Yes, of course, I can fix it, madam; I’m a very experienced and qualified plumber. I’ve been doing this job for twenty-five years now, so I know my stuff. Let me have a look. I expect you’ve been putting fat down the sink, haven’t you? You housewives are all the same.

No, actually, I never put fat down the sink.

Huh! You know, you should never do that. It ends up bunging up the sewers; then some poor geezer has to go down there amongst all the crap to clear out other people’s shit.

I told you, I don’t put fat down the sink – ever.

Well, it looks that way to me. Tut! This job will take extra time to sort out.

Oh, dear – is that going to cost a lot more? I don’t have a lot of spare cash. You know, I used to do my own plumbing jobs before my accident.

I don’t think women should be casually messing around with plumbing. They don’t know what they’re doing – they’ll only make the problem ten times worse. They should leave it to the experts like myself.  Us men, that is.

There are female plumbers, too, you know.

Really!! They’re not as capable of tackling these tough jobs as we are. They haven’t got the hands for it.

I really think that’s unfair of you. After all, as I said, I used to be able to sort out problems like this, especially in my own home.

Look, madam! I’m a professional, as I’ve said. Do you want me to do this job or not!? If you’re going to cause a fuss and complain, you’d better find yourself another plumber to do the job. I’ve had enough of this. Women are so ungrateful these days. So, you just go ahead. After all, you might be happier with a woman plumber. If you can find one, that is. Ha ha!  Don’t come back to me when it all goes wrong.

Would you kindly leave, please?

With pleasure, madam! Just as soon as you pay me.

But you haven’t done anything.


That’s your fault, missus – you wanted the job done. I charge a call-out fee – that’ll be £85 plus £60 for any time up to the first hour. Think yourself bloody lucky I’m not charging you for the inconvenience.

I don’t have that sort of money, and my husband is at work, but I’ll ring him and ask him what time he’ll be back. Hold on, please.

Well, if I’m coming back later, that’s going to cost you extra – taking up more of my time like this. Hurry up!

“Oh, hello. This is Mrs Warren here. Could I please speak to my husband, Chief Superintendent Warren ……

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR – THIS PIECE ISN’T TO IMPLY THAT WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN, BUT TO SHOW A POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN A PARTICULARLY STROPPY PLUMBER AND A SEEMINGLY TIMID WOMAN.

Image by Vien Hoang from Pixabay




A Christmas Poem – (Dedicated To My Dear Mum)

It’ll be six years soon; I lost my dear Mum
Counting the years, five fingers, one thumb
No Christmas together, as too far away
Missing each other on this special day

We could have been sad, both so alone
But giggles (and tears) made their way down the phone
We chatted at breakfast and chatted at dinner
Turkey or nut loaf; the loaf was the winner

Opening presents that had come in the post
Mum sipping a sherry and sharing a toast
Me with an alcohol-free sparkling wine
Sober year count more than eight or nine

Reading our cards to each other out loud
Many have come from the family crowd
Dinner now ready, so we stopped to eat
Cranberry sauce; still good without meat

Christmas pudding came next, of course
Vegan cream, custard but no brandy sauce
Crackers, for one, were out of the question
I’ve eaten too much, and I’ve got indigestion

The TV is on showing Morecambe and Wise*
Jokes and throwing custard pies
Somehow, it’d got to quarter past eight
No washing up done and getting late

I’m alone once again this Christmas Day
But on Monday, the children will come and play
My wishes to all are full of good cheer
So, Happy Christmas and a great New Year.

(FOR MUM WITH LOVE – RIP 30/12/16)


(* Morecambe and Wise was a popular Christmas comedy programme in the UK years ago).


Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash