I was at one of my oldest customers today, working on plant I installed when I had just left school, so it must have been around ’86 or ’87.
The safety valve, or pressure relief valve as the kids today are calling them, had failed. The spring had given up so every time the pump started, a beefy pump mind you, 3 phase twin head on 3″ steel pipe, the valve lifted and shot 90ºC water into the boilerhouse. The single casualty of all this extra wateryness was a electric motorised valve which fried itself and I now had to change along with the safety valve.
All good, pretty straight forward and within easy walking distance of several cafes. Magic. Except that it’s a hall complex full of nursery kids, pensioners having lunch and a zumba class. I couldn’t really switch the heating off.
I did anyway, but a wee bit at a time so they wouldn’t notice. Got the safety valve done easy, the blokes that fitted this pipework were good, plenty of isolation valves that meant minimal draining down. The heating went back on for half an hour and I put as much of the new bit together as I could, time’s moved on and a new type of valve was going in with adapters and it was in the back of another Peter’s motor on its way to me, so I could only go so far. I disconnected, I installed as much as I could and waited for Peter to arrive. I looked at the clock, I looked at my phone, I looked through the windows at the folks doing their stuff and they looked back at me wondering who the shady looking man was at the window. I looked at the clock, I looked at my phone and found that I had shuffled over to a little sheltered garden where it was apparently still summer.
I took some photies, the flowers were bright and glowing with life and colour. Outdoors really is only as far away as your front door and maybe that’s where the joy starts if you look for it.
Peter arrived with the cardboard box I was waiting for and the valve within it fitted in with the minimum of mechanical fuss and only a small amount of rewiring, which is where Peter comes in, we work together a lot, I strangle the pipes and he wires them.
That sounds more sinister than I expected.