Achten sie auf Heißeswasser

I keep forgetting to write about this, but I think you’ll agree – it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the other quality content herein.

During my 10-or-so years’ living in London one of the many & varied places I called “home” was a ludicrously expensive flat in the Russell Square area, above a reasonably nice pub called The Marquis Cornwallis.

From the pub’s own website

Of course, there’s no point living above a pub if you can’t afford to spend any time in the bloody thing – but that’s another story*. I enjoyed the name “Cornwallis”, because in my youth one of the insults of choice was to call someone a “wally”, which was formalised to “wallace” in the cases of a particularly impressive wally… so a “cornwallis” must be QUITE the notable wally!


One of the things I thought was endearing about our flat was that above the hot water taps in the bathroom and kitchen were these stickers inviting people using the hot taps to exercise caution, as the hot taps dispensed hot water.

I mean, I don’t know what else people would expect to come springing out of a hot water tap – lark’s vomit, perhaps?

(Incidentally, that’s not a photo of the actual tap – it’s just the sticker I saw in a pub wot reminded me)

One day I was working from home, tapping away on my keyboard, when the doorbell went. This was a VASTLY annoying occurrence, as we lived on the 2nd floor and the intercom thing was fucked. Come to think of it, I don’t know why I thought it might be for me, because I don’t think I gave anyone that address and was still receiving parcels/post at my club in Soho** – but, answer the door I did.

It was a man telling me that he was here to test our hot water.

Nope, me either.

After some light interrogation it seemed to be something to do with the landlordic responsibility of the company which owned the building, because there was also a pub on the same location. So having ascertained it wasn’t going to cost me anything I acquiesced and allowed him to proceed. He set about with a couple of meters and things, taking some notes in his notebook and peering over his glasses at the readout.

Having measured the hot water to his satisfaction, he folded away his testing apparatus and approached me to report that (words to the effect of – it was a while back, so I’m freestyling a little) the hot water from the tap was meant to reach no more than a maximum of 42.8 degrees, however ours was coming out at 47 degrees. This proved a conversational impasse, but it was clear that he’d finished talking – and as it wasn’t clear if he was waiting for a response, I asked what happened next… did he need to adjust the boiler or something?

The man indicated that adjusting the boiler temperature was outside of his remit and responsibility, and he was merely there to test the water (this guy really sounds like the life of the party, no?) – however there was one final duty to attend to. He reached into his bag and produced a folder, and after some determined flipping he retrieved a sticker sheet from which he peeled off a sticker and meticulously applied it over the top of our existing hot water warnings.


And that – as they say – was that.

* another element of the impoverishing nature of living in that flat was that our local supermarket was a big Waitrose, which seemed to mean it was impossible to pop in for milk & bread & essentials without leaving the shop £50 lighter

** where I worked as a part-time barman… it’s a lot less grand than it sounds. But a lot more practical than receiving post at our previous flat in Chinatown.

*** this isn’t my photo – I thought I had one on my phone but couldn’t find it, so I used Bill Smith’s Creative Commons licensed one from Flickr

Achten sie auf Heißeswasser
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