How the Battle of Plumbing was won with wrench and ignorance


There is, for most of us, a common theme running through the course of our lives.

For the lucky ones, it is lottery wins and true love; for the selfless ones, it is a life of dedicated service and philanthropy. For me, it's plumbing. I can't escape my destiny.

My dad returned from buying socks with two new toilets for the house. They were on sale. So I spent my lovely weekend at the shore up close and personal with porcelain.

It's not a dignified position. There have been other variations on this wet theme: Nancy wanted to change her bathroom sink; my mother's sink drain disappeared one afternoon, and I found it sunk in under the floor. And the most important thing I learned was to shut off the water before doing anything.

Eventually, my husband and I bought a house of our own, and I thought my days of plumbing were through. Alas, no.

Several months back I manhandled (woman-handled for the politically correct) my washer out of its cubbyhole and replaced the pump on the machine. We ran out of clean clothing while I tested the repairs. I shopped for groceries in a brocade dress. I fixed the washer in my bathing suit.

But no matter: Woman triumphed over machine. And that was it for plumbing until two nights ago, when the downstairs toilet wouldn't stop running. My trusty wrench and I ran to the rescue: I turned off the water downstairs (I'm thinking of calling myself the wrench wench, but I have too much personal dignity to do so).

The easy-repair kit came with everything needed except the rubber washer my rare type of connector requires. Washers cost a nickel but are available only at large hardware stores. So once again, dear friends, it's off to the field of battle I go, armed only with a wrench and shielded by ignorance.

You'll recognize me at the hardware store: I'm the one in the red-sequined sheath.


BTC Savage residents Laura Becraft and her husband, Robert, are busy this week preparing for the 25th annual re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. For those of us whose history is a bit shaky, the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066 in England.

After the battle was over, the Saxons had been soundly defeated by the Normans under William the Conqueror.

The Becrafts have been involved in historical recreations for a long time; they met at a medieval fair. They are members of the Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia, a group of re-enactors founded in 1969 at the University of Maryland.

As members, the Becrafts re-enact battles and encampments from the 11th century. This weekend, Markland re-creates the battle of Hastings at Marietta Mansion in Glendale. There will be encampments representing the Normans, the Celts, the Saxons and the Vikings, all of whom met on that fateful day.

Each culture had different types of tents, weapons and techniques. The campers/re-enactors are glad to explain to spectators what the differences are.

Eric Longwood is the battle master. He is in charge of choreographing the two battles, Hastings and Stanford Bridge.

Along with the camps and the battles, there will be demonstrations of crafts of the period, such as spinning, woodworking, blacksmithing and weaving. In the 11th century, everything was made by hand, including the tools used in those crafts.

Laura Becraft will be showing how 11th century people dyed the cloth they wove, using vegetable dyes and some unusual mordants.

There will also be a display of castle-building techniques. Robert Becraft made 12 large signboards explaining castle construction and development to highlight the model castle displayed.

This year, the Battle of Hastings will take place at Marietta Mansion tomorrow and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The $4 admission charge brings two days filled with medieval pageantry and history for the benefit of the mansion's repair fund. A tour of the 200-year old mansion is included in the admission charge. Children under 12 are free.

Call Marietta Mansion at (301) 464-5291 for information, directions or tickets to Hastings.


The Howard County Children's Chorus is pleased to admit to its ranks Bollman Bridge Elementary students Stephanie Diemer, Sarah Fixsen, Shelley Kreh, Michal Kusnetz, Jordan Lowry, Katie Ryan and Tiffany Underwood.


Next weekend join in some fall family fun by bringing old clothes to Savage Mill and learn to make scarecrows for fall.

The mill provides the straw for stuffing and students at Bollman Bridge have been collecting pantyhose to make faces for the figures.


Tonight is the third concert in the 1994 Montpelier Cultural Arts Center's Jazz Series. The Buck Hill Quartet plays at the center at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 each for this popular tenor saxophonist and his minions.


The Savage library announces its Bedtime Storytime schedule for October.

Bring your little ones for a soothing half-hour of bedtime stories. Children are allowed to attend in their pajamas, but their significant elders are not. Come Thursday at 7 p.m. to the Savage library.

Call Laura Lunking at (410) 880-5978 for more details.


There are two other children's programs this fall at the Savage library. Admission to these free programs is by lottery.

Fill out the lottery form for Twist and Shout, a music program for 2- and 3-year-olds by Wednesday.

The program will be presented twice, on Oct. 19 at 10:30 a.m. and on Oct. 22 at the same time.


The Savage library will also present a four-week series for 3- to 5-year- olds called "Just for Me." Again, registration is by lottery, with the library drawing the names of the lucky preschoolers Oct. 18.

The series runs weekly during all of November. There are two session, one on Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the other on Wednesday mornings beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Call Laura Lunking at (410) 880-5978 for more details.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad