Plumbing has really changed through the years, you know? I remember when I started my apprenticeship as a young buck in 1963, and we were told that while folks in the United Kingdom and the USA had their fancy pipes, Australia would always be behind so stop moaning and pick up a bucket! Then again, this was in my tiny country town, so I have no idea if the plumbers in Melbourne got to work on actual pipes. I’ve spent decades wondering if my old boss wasn’t pulling my leg, making we go back and forth from the well and delivering the drinking and washing water to the whole town, every day. It was certainly a trial by…water, but by the time I actually moved to Melbourne, we’d had real pipes installed.
It’s funny, typing it now, but I’m coming to realise that plumbing really was behind in our little community. We were the types who were so very afraid of change, you see, so it makes sense that the forward-thinking city folks did a better job of updating their plumbing technology. Imagine my surprise when I joined a firm that sent out plumbers 24 hours a day! I couldn’t believe such a thing existed. Everything in the country shuts down at 5 sharp, 12 on Saturdays, but now I had to get up at 2am to go to work plumbing. Some jobs just couldn’t wait. I quickly grew used to the whole thing, but it was still a struggle adjusting with my background.
I’ve been back, of course. Our town has grown, it has plumbing, no one uses the old well and people don’t seem to remember the old days when they’d have their daily water delivered by bucket. Things are certainly better that way, but I don’t forget! Back before 24 hour plumbers in Melbourne became a staple, we were hauling buckets, every day, never stopping.