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Check your storm drains

The well needed rain that arrived in Sydney over the last few days has created many blocked storm water drains and grates that can easily be fixed.

Take the opportunity in between showers to check any pits or drains around your home that may be blocked by leaf debris or dirt.
Put on your gardening or washing up gloves and you can clean them out, it may save you from some unexpected flooding.
The drain shown here was covered by leaves and gum nuts blown off in the storm. It wasn’t able to cope with the deluge of water.
The garage was flooded.

If your roof gutters are full and overflowing, it may be leaf debris and twigs or even a tennis ball from the summer back yard cricket series blocking the gutter outlets.
If you choose to put a ladder upto the roof gutters to have a look, Please be very careful.
Take care climbing on your roof.
It may be very slippery!

The Lone Drainer’s Recipe #3

The Lone Drainer’s Mushroom Sauce for Pasta
(which doubles as a fabulous addition as a sauce for steak the next night, and takes care of two of the five vegetables per day you are meant to eat.)
This recipe is an example of The Hardworking Plumber’s Secret Timesaving Tip: Cook It Once, Use It Twice, (tastes sensational both times!)

This recipe is so simple as to be hardly a recipe, but it’s impressive to eat nonetheless and made in a matter of minutes. I put this on the stove, on a low heat, go have a shower, (yeah, yeah, I know its dangerous, but The Lone Drainer and his Team are tired after a hard day on the tools and a shower while dinner cooks saves precious minutes which means we get to eat earlier.
(Ed: gotta give it to Dave Conroy, always thinking, thinking…).

And credit where credit is due, this recipe was pretty well invented by Leigh, the best gasfitter in Sydney’s east, then developed by me, whom some experts would say is the best and most modest plumber in the Eastern suburbs….

INGREDIENTS:
½ a box of already cut up mushrooms, the kind you buy at the supermarket
Left over white wine
Garlic (buy the bags of single clove garlic from Harris Farm Markets as they take less time to cut and peel- see pic)
Three tablespoons of cream
A tablespoon of parsley if you have it,
A decent glug, glug, glug of olive oil, i.e. three big tablespoons if you want to be accurate
A bag of salad mix

METHOD
Chop up the garlic any old how. Small is good.
In a largish frypan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat, add the garlic, fry until it smells good but not brown, tip in the half box of mushrooms, stir, turn heat down, add a cup of white wine, and half a cup of water or stock, (the mushrooms should be more or less covered with liquid), stir and let stew while you take a shower or set the table. Put a big pot of salted water on low heat, (again the amount of salt doesn’t really matter, but if you like precision, a tablespoon will do).

Okay, all cleaned up now, turn the heat up under the pasta water till its boiling, add the pasta.

Throw some of the salad leaves into a bowl and dress with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of vinegar. Put on the table. This is your salad to go with the pasta.

Add three tablespoons of cream to your mushrooms and stir. Turn off the heat under them but leave in pan on stove.
Once the pasta is cooked, (it should still have a bit of bite to it as it will go on cooking in the sauce) drain it, put in a largish bowl and add the mushroom sauce to it. Stir and eat. Delicious!

Here is a pic of the pasta in the bowl, ready to eat: (note the inspection outlet in the background- we plumbers are always experimenting with the latest technology)

Next week, we’ll talk about the Plumbers’ pantry cupboard and what you need to keep in it in order to be able to make a delicious dinner in ten minutes flat every night.
Until then,

Read our blog. Cook our food. Admire our plumbing.

The Lone Drainer’s Recipe #2

I scream, you scream, we’ll all scream for
The Lone Drainer’s Passionfruit Ice Cream

I, Dave Conroy, the master of the fast but excellent tasting recipe, have developed a speedy, easy, no- equipment- necessary recipe for fantastic icecream. OK, it’s not super healthy, but it is home made, you know every single good ingredient (3) that’s in it because you put them there and its 100% natural.

Here is the recipe:

Go to the supermarket on the way home from work.
Buy 1 can of condensed milk and 1 carton of cream and 6 passionfruit.
Stir the cream and condensed milk together in a saucepan over a low heat.
Add the insides of the 6 passionfruit and let it sit off the heat while you open a beer, watch the news, have a shower or water the garden.

Then, (and this is the good bit) raid the grog cupboard, find some vodka. Any other liquor will do, but vodka is good because it has no flavor or colour. Gin will work just as well. Anything that won’t mask the flavor of the passionfruit. Add a good slug, around two tablespoons. Stir. Put the lot in a plastic container and stick it in the freezer. It’ll be ready in about an hour.

This wondrous creation has been tried and tested in the The Lone Drainer Test Kitchen many times. There is science at the back of it too. The alcohol in the vodka stops the icecream forming crystals, which make for an unpleasant texture. Alcohol just won’t freeze in a normal domestic freezer. So it keeps the ice cream creamy. Ipso facto, you don’t have to do all that churning with machines and gadgets and what not.

We’ve tried it with whisky and two espresso coffees instead of the passionfruit and that came out tops too. It’s just not a fussy recipe. But it won’t work without the grog. Trust me. I’m a plumber. And I don’t like to waste good alcohol.
Here is a picture of two thirds of my last batch of passionfruit icecream. I did want to photograph it BEFORE eating it, but just couldn’t resist. Evidence of how good it is.

Read our blog. Cook my food. Admire our plumbing.

How much to fix my toilet?

Running toilet quote…..Is all an email said earlier this week, with the attached picture.

It’s hard to say from this picture I said, but I tried to help the writer by asking a few simple questions
Is it a close coupled suite?
Or are the pan and cistern separate?
Is it the inlet or outlet valve leaking?
Does the water turn off at the control valve?
Is the connection between the control valve and the cistern hard drawn tube or is it one of those flexible braided connections?
The outlet valve is redundant. It could be rewashered if that’s the problem, was part of my email response

The flushing toilet is a wonder of the modern world we can take for granted considering our previous post about 4.4 billion people not having a toilet.
But
Our local bathroom suppliers currently have 48 different types of toilet cisterns on display and that’s not including the antique in our picture.
They all have different water connections and flushing mechanisms.
So please, help us help you by providing as much information as possible about your particular leaking toilet.
In the meantime, you can turn off the water and flush your loo with a bucket.

Gas heater time again

Winter 2018 is coming to Sydney.
With some much needed rain approaching as we head towards June 1st, it’s time to go looking for some indoor heating.
If you haven’t run your gas heater since last winter, please dust it and ensure the bayonet fittings are well lubricated before inserting the heater hose.
Check for leaks.
If you’re not sure
Call Us!

Giving a Crap on World Toilet Day 2017

The Lone Drainer and Pronto, Sydney will pay tribute to a unique and special observance whose goal is to install a working toilet in emergent nations.

On November 19, The Lone Drainer and Pronto (TLDP), will participate in the World Toilet Day 2017 (WTD2017), a United Nations’ (UN) worldwide event that will highlight the lack of proper sanitation and safely-managed toilets a problem affecting over 4.5 billion people in economically developing nations.
(more…)

Wipe your bum for a good cause!

We all poop. Most of us daily, and some of us do so in style. Now your idea of style can be different to mine, but style is a luxury some simply don’t have.

That’s exactly what the World Poop Day is about!

You might have noticed I have been recently ranting about the ‘poop day’ or to be more specific the World Toilet Day 2017 (WTD2017).

This event is not a joke, not a metaphor of some kind – it’s a REAL DEAL.

If your toilet was blocked for a week, then you probably would be jumping out of your skin, right? What if you had no toilet for two weeks or a month?

Unthinkable! Well, some poor folk in third world places have no toilet at all. If you had no proper toilet you’d need to squat wherever you can, which sometimes may be very uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Imagine this. You watch the footy (your team is hammering the other team!) where suddenly you have to go for number two. Easy, you visit the loo.

But what if you didn’t have one?

Option one, you run outside, squat anywhere. Shoot.

Option two, you run next to your neighbour’s house (you don’t want to poop under your own window). Poop.

Option three, poop in your pants. Wash later. You don’t want to miss your favourite game.

Luckily, for most Aussies we don’t have to think about it, we simply head for the throne, and on the throne, we sit. But we need more thrones especially for those who cannot afford one! No need for fancy ones, only appropriate ones.

That’s the appeal of the WTD2017 (build more thrones, and create proper sanitation conditions for those in need). We need appropriate thrones that can properly take care of business without polluting the environment.

On November 19, 2017 (the WTD2017) be sure to pause and feel grateful if you have access to a working toilet. Billions around the world aren’t so lucky!

If you would like to do something positive, you can purchase the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper – we give 50% of the profits towards building more toilets.

Be sure to forward this page on to friends and family. We all need to wipe ourselves after taking a dump – now you can wipe yourself for a good cause!

Something to think about when you reclaim your throne!

I had a few clients and blog readers asking me questions about the upcoming World Toilet Day 2017. To recap, it’s about raising public awareness of the worldwide problem of inhumane toilet conditions that some must deal with.

Today, I would like to answer some of the questions about the World Toilet Day 2017, and suggest an easy way for you to make a difference.

What is the World Toilet Day 2017? (WTD2017)

The WTD2017 is a special observance arranged by the United Nations (UN) to highlight the serious problem of no proper sanitation conditions in many third world countries. Over 4.5 billion people have no toilet / working toilet, which is a third of the world’s population!

When will this important observance be held?

The WTD2017 will take place on November 19, 2017.

Am I at risk?
In Australia, you should be fine unless you live in rural areas with no access to proper toilet and sanitation. If you don’t poop in a hygienic toilet or if the poop is not disposed of properly, then with the aid of rainwater it may enter the ecosystem. This is often the problem in many third world countries. That’s why the goal of WTD2017 is to raise public awareness and get people talking about this important issue – hopefully, that will make a positive difference!

Why should I care?
Well, if no one cares, no one cares, right? But we can all make a difference. You see, according to WHO (2014) improved sanitation could stop around 842,000 people from dying each year.

What can you do?
You could, for example, donate money or support a reputable charity or purchase the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. (50% of its profits go to building toilets for people who need them most) Here’s the link if you would like to support this important cause. The toilet paper has no chlorine, no inks, no dyes, and no perfume or deodorant. It’s good for your bum–it’s good for the world!

Remember, to pause at least for a moment on November 19, 2017 to think about the World Toilet Day 2017. If you wipe yourself with the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, you know you’re also making a difference with every wipe!

World Toilet Day 2017

A UN report claims that worldwide, at least 2.4 billion people are without basic sanitation.
The report states some of the peoples of south Asia and sub Saharan Africa don’t have access to a toilet or clean running water.
It appears that people in these parts of the world have a mobile phone but don’t have a working toilet.

Living and working as a plumber in Sydney Australia visiting some of the best homes in the country, it seems crazy that over 869 million people still defecate out in the open.

So what can the average reader do to help those less fortunate than us?

Good Question!

Look out for reputable organisations that are working to deliver the basic hygiene we take for granted and send them a donation.

Even a small donation equivalent of what we Aussies spend on coffee weekly would change the living standard and the lives of many of those less fortunate.

Make a difference during World Toilet Day 2017!

Did you know that some people must do without a toilet?

In the West, we’re so used to sitting on one when we go for a number two. If the toilet runs smoothly we won’t even think about it. We take it for granted.

But sitting down for number two in comfort and style is a luxury many simply cannot afford. And we’re not talking about having shiny porcelain toilets with fancy fixtures. They have no toilets–be it porcelain, wooden or metal one. NONE.

So, where does the poo go? Well, that’s why you just have to hear about the important World Toilet Day 2017 or WTD2017 for short.

You see, when you reclaim your throne, billions of people must wing it so to speak and take a dump wherever possible. Their toileting might happen anywhere. In the woods behind a tree, under a bridge, or in some fenced in backyard. And, we’re not talking about an emergency where you find yourself driving past midnight hour with your girlfriend, and suddenly you must go.

Of course, those things happen. But imagine having to plan, search and hunt for squatting space every time you need to take a dump! Well, consider this.

According to WHO/UNICEF (2017) a whopping 4.5 billion people either have no toilet or no working toilet. About 869 million people worldwide practise open defecation because they have no proper toilet! But, it gets worse.

A shocking 1.8 billion people drink water that has no protection against contamination from faeces. So, the question ‘where does the poop go?’ becomes a serious issue. Because every time the poop is no disposed of properly it may enter the ecosystem and end up in a drink water reservoir!

So, feel lucky the next time you take a sit on your comfortable porcelain, and you don’t have to use grass or leaves to clean yourself!

Most importantly, be sure to spread the news about the WTD2017.

Ah yes, there is something by purchasing the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. (50% of the profits are used to build toilets in third world countries)

Thankfully, we have the World Toilet Day 2017, it puts things into perspective a little, doesn’t it?

Use Toilet Paper not Tissues

Tristan from The Lone Drainer And Pronto gives a simple demonstration as to why you should use toilet paper rather than facial tissues in the bathroom.

Toilet paper breaks down when it gets into water, whereas facial tissues bind together rather than falling apart.

Beware, facial tissues can cause a costly blocked drain.
Use toilet paper, not tissues.

My bathroom is flooding!

Pipes burst in peoples homes every day.
Knowing where your hot and cold water turn off could be the difference between having a few wet items under the kitchen sink and having a total flood.

Yesterday morning we had an urgent phone call for an emergency plumber with a difference.

Allan, the homeowner knew exactly where to turn off the water to his home unit.
A flexible connection under his bathroom vanity basin had burst.
Allan heard a “pop” then the sound of running water as it gushed out of his bathroom vanity basin onto the floor and out the door.

Fortunately, shutting off the water quickly kept the damage to a minimum.

We were able to rescue Allan and his family pronto.

We replaced the ruptured hot flexible connection and changed the corroded looking cold connection also.

Spend a penny on a hot day

It’s hot in Sydney today. 30 deg C.    With the forecast to be 38 C. tomorrow Wednesday.

It’s uncomfortable!

We did all of our plumbing jobs earlier today, before it got too hot.
Interestingly, the average Sydney bathroom is a cool place to be on a hot day.
The tiled floor and walls in the bathroom made it significantly cooler.
So, if you can, stay in the bathroom a little longer today. Sit a little longer and read this story of the landlord who put a coin operated flush button on his tenants WC cistern in an effort to “save water”.
Now stay cooler longer and read about it here.

Funny, 10 days ago I was in Sheridan Montana and the temp was -29 C. I’m glad their bathroom was heated.

 

World Toilet Day 2016

Today November 19th, 2016 is  World Toilet Day .

What does working as a plumber in Sydney, one of the greatest cities in the world, mean to me on World Toilet Day?
This is a city of contrast and we get to see mostly the top end where it’s nothing for people to spend over $1000 to buy 1 new toilet.
Many of the houses we visit have 2 or more toilets and many of us take it for granted that we can use a toilet, then flush the loo with clean drinking water from our seemingly endless water supply.
A lot of Sydneysiders would be surprised to know that about 1/3 of the world’s population have neither a toilet to use or clean running water to drink.

Let alone flushing away their bodily waste off to a treatment works, somewhere out of sight. And out of mind!

Today, whilst you use your toilet, think for a moment how we might help those less fortunate.
During your Christmas holiday, if you visit an underprivileged country and experience poor toilet hygiene, think of those people and how we may be able to help them before World Toilet Day 2017.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, take a picture of your travel experience and send it to me.

I’d like to raise awareness of this simple missing basic need for so many.