Page 1

Your guide to taking care of your home

WIN £1,000

Bathroom bliss

towards rev am your bathro ping om – page 18

Inspiring ideas that don’t cost a fortune – page 12

Ready for anything!

How HomeServe plumbers are protecting your home – page 14


cosy! +Draught-proof your home +Prepare for the cold +Keep warm and save money


Contents 10 ASK our EXPERT


Hints and tips on home maintenance from our engineer


Read our guide to revamping your bathroom and turn the room into an oasis of tranquility

14 READY FOR ANYTHING “I set his booT on fire!”

Find out why we think Bob Hoskins should leave the plumbing to HomeServe…

04 UPDATE: HOMESERVE NEWS HomeServe Cover 8 has won a 5 Star Rating from Defaqto. Plus: how our new fleet of red vans are ready to serve you


HomeServe is a trading name of HomeServe Membership Ltd, Cable Drive, Walsall, West Midlands WS2 7BN. Unless otherwise stated, policies are provided by and underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance SA and arranged and administered by HomeServe Membership Ltd. For claims, lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For enquiries, lines are open weekdays 8am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.


Draught-proof your home and you could save up to £120 a year on your energy bills, as well as making your house a warmer place. Stay cosy when it’s cold with our guide

HomeServe: Sophie Compson, Kiran Pawar, Bal Thandi, Louise Bird, Hannah Logan FuturePlus: Editorial Director Mark Donald Editor Garrick Webster Art Directors Stuart Hobbs, Dermot Rushe Art Editor Steve Roberts Contributors Bruce Mytton, Lee Hart, Matt Robinson, Dave Myring Director of FuturePlus Jayne Caple Account Manager Debbie Blackman Account Director Claire Jonik Autumn/Winter 2013 The HomeServe Home Expert Magazine

When you have a plumbing emergency, our engineers are here to help

16 To the Rescue! When Joan’s toilet wouldn’t stop running, we solved the problem

18 WIN £1,000

Want to give your bathroom a refresh? Enter our draw for an opportunity to win £1,000

is published on behalf of HomeServe Membership Limited by FuturePlus, a division of Future Publishing Ltd (company no 2008885), whose registered office is at 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW. Tel: 01225 442244 All information correct at time of going to press. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission of the copyright owner. No responsibility

will be accepted for any errors or omissions or comments. Views expressed in the guide are not necessarily the views of HomeServe Membership Limited, and services and goods mentioned are not necessarily endorsed by HomeServe Membership Limited. HomeServe Membership Limited accepts no responsibility for the content of third party websites or the goods or services that they may provide. The subjects covered in this guide are for information only and examples used may not be covered by your insurance policy should you make a claim. © HomeServe 2013



How to make a claim Just follow the steps below.

1 Call us on 0800 24 7 999* where our dedicated claims team are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Please have a pen and paper handy to write down your claims reference number.

2 The person dealing with your claim will ask you a few questions to help identify the problem, and whether or not it’s covered.

Check out Ask our expert on page 10 where we help solve common DIY problems…

The UK has seen some cold winters in recent years, keeping HomeServe’s nationwide network of engineers very busy fixing everything from burst pipes to failing boilers. Cold spells are a difficult time to keep the house warm, so here in Home Expert magazine we’ve included a guide to draught-proofing your home, which you’ll find on page 6. There’s lots more. Turn to page 10 for helpful DIY tips. We’ve got some great suggestions for giving your bathroom a refresh on page 12. And if you’re curious about how we get plumbers to customers so quickly, have a look at the feature over on page 14 and discover how our network operates. Stay warm and cosy during the cold weather and enjoy the magazine. Paul Price Regional Support Specialist

3 Images: ©, Rex Features

If your problem is covered, a HomeServe approved engineer will aim to be with you within an agreed time.

4 Job done, and all that’s left is for you to sign to say you’re satisfied.

*Claims numbers for some policies are different, refer to your policy documents. 03


5 Star quality

HomeServe Cover 8 receives top rating from Defaqto…


omeServe has been awarded a 5 Star Rating for the HomeServe Cover 8 product. The rating was made by independent financial research company Defaqto, and recognises the market-leading position of HomeServe’s Cover 8. Key criteria for the award include the limit placed per claim, which for Cover 8 is £4,000 per claim; also taken into account is the fact that there’s no limit on the number of times a customer can claim per year. This is the first year Defaqto has carried out research into the home emergency cover market. Defaqto’s researchers collected information on a total of 223 different products from a broad range of insurance providers, and only 26 products were awarded the 5 Star Rating as of 1 February 2013. No fewer than seven of the products that received five stars are supplied by HomeServe. Standing strong among them, HomeServe Cover 8 met, and in many cases far surpassed, all the core criteria that


More info

Defaqto facts Founded in 1994, Defaqto covers over 32,000 products across 165 product types. Its Star Ratings now cover more than 50 areas across banking, life, pensions, investments and general insurance.

Defaqto tested it against. HomeServe Cover 8 offers cover for a range of home emergencies, including water supply pipe problems, plumbing and drainage, electrical emergencies and breakdowns, security and roofing, pest contamination, gas supply pipe and gas central heating. The policy also includes an optional gas boiler service at an additional cost.

Comprehensive protection “Not all Home Emergency products are created equal,” says HomeServe Membership’s CEO Jonathan King. “HomeServe Cover 8 offers comprehensive protection and this Defaqto Star Rating is recognition of that. It’s also testament to our expertise as one of the UK’s leading providers of home emergency solutions – we do nothing else. That means we have our own trained and vetted tradespeople and specialist claims handlers. Over the last year we have invested heavily in improving our services further as we look to cement our position as the UK’s home emergency experts.”


What's in the back? The new tools in our vans will help us get the job done first time…


Drainage root cutters Drains can get clogged with plant roots, which are tricky to remove. But our new root cutters will help get them out fast.

New vans, new tools Our new fleet of vehicles hit the road… HomeServe has invested in brand new vehicles and equipment for engineers working on plumbing, drainage and water supply pipe problems. Our new vans include short wheel based models, which are better for working in city locations. They are also more environmentally friendly thanks to improved mileage and reduced carbon emissions. The vans are supplied with additional new equipment to help our engineers deal with major plumbing and drainage issues – in particular water supply pipe problems. This includes pipe tracing detectors for finding leaks, cable detection tools, and moling equipment to help us lay new underground pipes with far less mess and disruption.

Triple gold!


Moling equipment This is used to literally dig a tunnel of up to 10 metres for a water pipe, saving us digging a trench across your driveway or through your garden.


Cable detection tools Our engineers carry new, more advanced cable detection tools in their vans to ensure that if they do have to dig, they won’t hit any buried power or TV cables.


to r draw Enter ou1,000 on win £ e 18 pag

Images © iStockphoto

HomeServe wins gold again in Health and Safety

For the third consecutive year, HomeServe has won a Gold award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Presented earlier this year in Birmingham, the prestigious award recognises HomeServe’s commitment to health and safety across our plumbing and drainage network. The RoSPA awards are open to businesses of all types and

sizes, at home and abroad. The Society looks at both accident records and the health and safety management systems businesses have in place. Our health and safety policy covers our customers as well as engineers and employees. Every time one of our tradesmen enters a customer’s home to do a job, they carry out a risk assessment. 05

Stay cosy

Draught-proof your home 0! £12 and save! save up to

We’ve researched some of the best ways to keep draughts out of your home…


ne of the best ways of cutting your energy bills and keeping your house warmer in the winter is to make sure it’s free of draughts. In fact, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that homes in the UK can save an average of £55 on heating bills annually by draught proofing. And because draught-proof homes are more comfortable at lower temperatures, turning down the thermostat could save you a further £65* a year. That means a potential saving of £120 annually! There are two things you’re dealing with when draught proofing your home – first, stopping cold air coming in, and second, stopping warm air getting out. We’ve researched the various draughtproofing options available, and how to put them into action in your home… *For more see


Stay cosy

Around the door

A draught might be entering your house the same way you do – through the front door. Luckily, there are several ways to keep that cold air out…


Self-adhesive strips can be applied to the door frame to ensure a tighter fit. Made of foam, rubber or strips of brush, they seal gaps from 1 to 8mm. The space between the threshold and the door can be blocked off by attaching a brush strip (pictured right) or vinyl flap seal.


Self-adhesive strips are relatively inexpensive, but they can become ineffective with wear and tear. A more robust solution is an external door frame weatherstrip kit. These are usually aluminium or plastic strips that hold a vinyl seal against the door. They are fixed to the frame with screws and the strips usually need to be cut to size.


Draughts entering via the keyhole can be stopped with a keyhole cover – a swinging flap (right). If your letterbox allows draughts various brush and flap draft excluders are available – just make sure you buy the right size for your letterbox.

Weather strips Self-adhesive P-strips and E-strips (below) are used to seal doors and windows. They look different but both are equally effective.

Your Windows

Just like the front door, windows often allow draughts to enter through the gap between the frame and the window itself. Again, self-adhesive strips of foam, rubber or brush can be applied to reduce draughts. Double-glazed windows are better at keeping the cold out than single, but during particularly cold periods you can fit temporary secondary glazing to either type of window for extra insulation. Easy-to-use kits are available. You apply double-sided tape around the window frame then stick a sheet of clear plastic film to it, sealing it all the way around and using a hairdryer to smooth out any wrinkles. 07

Stay cosy floorboards

In houses with stripped or bare wooden floorboards, draughts can come up between the gaps. Some people solve this problem by laying down a rug, others put strips of newspaper into the gaps and cracks. A better solution is to install strips of StopGapTM, or an equivalent product. These are flexible strips of plastic that can be purchased in a roll, and cut into pieces of the required length. You then fold it along its length and push it into the gap between the floorboards. When installed correctly the strips are hidden from sight and stop air coming in or escaping.

They also help prevent pests, smells and noise from getting up through the floor. Draughts may run along your floor if your skirting boards aren’t flush with the floor and the wall. If the gap is small, close it off with decorator’s sealant or PolyfillaTM. A wider gap can be covered with a flexible vinyl sealing strip or some beading. If this looks unattractive, you may need to refit the skirting boards. Check for holes wherever pipework goes through the floor as well. Radiator pipe collars that cover such holes through the floor can be bought for as little as £3 from DIY outlets.

Key materials Weather stripping – Selfadhesive brush, foam or rubber strips for doors and windows. Brush strip / vinyl flap seal – For the gap under the front door. Keyhole cover – A surround with swinging flap to seal the keyhole. Postbox draught excluder – A frame with brush or flap. Allows in the post, but not the draughts. StopGapTM – Vinyl strips to push between draughty floorboards. Radiator pipe collars – Circular seals to place around central heating pipes where they come up through the floor. Chimney pillow – An inflatable bag to stop a draughty chimney.


1. Preparation To draughtproof your floorboards first clean the gaps between them.

2. Vinyl strips Cut the strips to fit then fold them into a V-shape.

3. Installation Use a plastic card or table knife to push the strips into the gaps.

Stay Support cosy The Chimney


If you have a fireplace that’s Be sure not to not in use, and haven’t confuse draughts with bricked it in and/or capped normal ventilation. Rooms over the chimney pot, a where you have a gas or draught might be coming wood fire require adequate down your chimney. To ventilation, as do ones prevent it, get an inflatable where moisture can chimney pillow. These are build up. available from both fireplace and DIY outlets and cost around £50. You simply hold the bag in place and inflate it until it secures itself within the chimney, stopping the air flow up and down. Don’t blow it up too hard – it’s good if a small amount of air can get past the inflatable somewhere along one of its edges. Ventilation like this is important in older properties that are prone to condensation, damp and mildew. And remember, don’t light a fire without removing the chimney pillow!

The roof and loft

Your home’s insulation should prevent warm air escaping into your loft and out through the roof. However, do ensure that your loft access hatch has an effective seal around it to stop draughts. Just as with your doors and windows, you can use a self-adhesive foam, rubber or brush strip to seal the hatch. Finally, check for cracks in the plaster work where the ceiling joins the wall in all your rooms. Seal them with plaster or PolyfillaTM if draughts are entering that way, or consider fitting some coving.

Illustrations: Tom Hughes

All together now

According to the Energy Saving Trust, if everybody across the UK draught-proofed their homes, the country could save almost £180 million annually – enough to heat 930,000 houses. 09

Ask our expert From outdoor taps to catflaps, our home expert Albert Hill answers some common DIY queries…

My power shower has gone from a rush to a trickle. What’s wrong with it?

One of the most common power shower problems is limescale. It can inhibit the pump, the element, thermostat and water flow. If your shower has a limescale filter, get it cleaned. You may have a special filter on the pipe feeding the shower unit. The crystals inside it need to be changed every year to two years, depending on water hardness. I’d recommend you have a plumber change them for you.


Will my outdoor tap be damaged in the winter?

Handy hint

The fridge Keeping the condenser coils on the back of your fridge dust free will help it run more efficiently.

Outdoor taps often freeze in cold weather. Ice expands inside, splitting joints or even the water pipe itself. You may have a valve on the pipe inside the house that feeds the tap. Before the cold weather comes, turn this valve off, then turn the tap on to allow the water to drain away. When winter’s over, close the tap again, and turn the valve back on. Alternatively, you can lag your tap with a kit from a good DIY store.

Some dark marks have appeared on the kitchen wall near the skirting board. Has our damp-proofing failed?

Not necessarily. The marks might be mould growing because of condensation. It can be cleaned away with a cloth soaked in hot water and liquid detergent. Spray-on and wipe-on mould remover is also available. Look into your kitchen’s ventilation and try to solve the condensation problem. Rising damp is a different issue – it usually occurs when a building soaks up water from the



Do your home health check... A quick external inspection


From the ground, check the front and back of your roof. If you notice any loose, cracked or missing tiles, have them replaced to prevent water leaks.


Clean the gutters. Getting rid of debris will make overflowing gutters less likely during wet weather, preventing damage to your roof and walls.

ground, or contact with standing water. A professional with a damp meter will be able to tell you whether or not your wall has damp and needs damp proofing.

Images: © iStockphoto,

Can I get a catflap fitted into a double-glazed patio door?

Yes, but it’s not as simple as cutting a hole in each pane of glass and installing the cat flap. The work should be done by a specialist who will supply new panes of hardened glass with the cat flap holes cut into them. They’ll fit the glass and the cat flap into your patio door, making sure the space between the glass remains sealed. Look for a company registered with FENSA, the government body for the glazing industry, to carry out the work.

Handy hint

Drill safety There are different drill bits for wood, masonry and metal – use the wrong one and it could snap. Always wear safety goggles.


Clear your outdoor drains to prevent flooding later on. Sweep away leaves from around the building too, so the ground isn’t slippery in wet weather.

We’re going to paint the bedroom, but we’re not sure how much paint to buy. Can you help?

Paint tins usually tell you how much area their contents will cover in square metres (m2). Measure the height and width of each wall you want to paint in meters, then subtract the area of any windows, doors and built-in furniture. When working it out, remember that you might need two coats. If you could do with a little help, some of the major DIY stores have handy paint area calculators on their websites. Spending too much on paint can be annoying, but running out half-way through the job is even more annoying! 11

Home tips


Spruce your bathroom Bathroom looking tired and worn? We’ve done some research and found a few inspiring ideas to give it a brand new look and feel…


eplacing your bath, shower, toilet and washbasin could cost you thousands of pounds, but there are lots of quick and easy ways to refresh your bathroom that are much easier on the bank balance.

Fresher floors

Let’s work from the ground up and start with the floor. If it’s carpeted, why not replace it with linoleum, which comes in a range of colours and can be easier to maintain? Or, if your existing linoleum floor is looking worn, a new one will instantly rejuvenate the room. A different idea would be to have your bathroom floor tiled. It’s more expensive, but it will last longer and is just as easy to clean.

Some new floor mats are an easy way of brightening up a bathroom, with matching towels to complete the effect.

A new leaf If you haven’t got room for furniture or ornaments, a house plant can be a cheap and effective way to brighten up your bathroom.

cut the Clutter The clutter generated by all those colourful cans, bottles and tubes – from toothpaste to toilet cleaner, hand soap to hairspray – is another thing that can make your bathroom lose its sparkle. The recent trend towards minimalist bathrooms, with just the necessities, has left many of us with nowhere to keep things. Consequently, some people are now moving towards more bathroom furniture. Installing a new basin with a vanity unit underneath is one solution. Another could be to replace your mirror with a mirrored cabinet with space inside to store things. Some people are even putting chests of drawers in their bathrooms to hold all their towels, flannels and anything else they want to store away.

Images: ©

On the shelf While a chest of drawers might take up a bit too much room, putting up a shelf is a great way to get more storage space at little expense. Put one up about a foot to 18-inches below the ceiling and you can place piles of clean 12

Home tips

WIN £1,000

Enter our prize draw, and if you win you could put it towards updating your bathroom

towels on there, making for a colourful storage solution. You can also store spare bottles, tubes, tissue boxes and toilet rolls away on the shelf as well.

Top Tiles One of the most annoying things about bathrooms is the way the grouting around the tiles seems to discolour so quickly. Re-grouting is easier than you might think. You could even be daring and try coloured grout. Alternatively, grout reviver pens are available from as

Save water, save money While you’re revamping your bathroom, you can make it more water

Get great grout To clean your grout, make a paste of vinegar and baking soda and apply it. Leave for 10 minutes, then scrub it with a firm brush and rinse.

efficient as well. Fixing dripping taps is a good start. Popping a water displacement device into your toilet’s cistern will reduce the amount used with each flush. Having

little as £5, enabling you to refresh tiredlooking grout in minutes, with no mess.

Finer Fittings If you live in a hard water area where taps quickly become covered in limescale, treat yourself to a new set. At the same time, change other little fittings like the handles on your cabinets, the toilet roll holder and maybe the flush lever. This will give your bathroom new sparkle without breaking the bank. a shower instead of a bath uses just one third the water, and fitting an eco shower head can add to that saving if you are on a water meter. 13

Into action

Ready for anything 1

Claims team, Preston

When you call HomeServe to make a plumbing or drainage claim, we send your information directly to an engineer to get the problem resolved. Midlands Regional Support Specialist, Paul Price (below) explains how it works…

First contact When you call our claims team on 0800 24 7 999 you’ll speak to a trained claims handler in Preston who will assess your claim. Whether it’s a burst pipe, blocked drain or another claim, we want to help you get the issue resolved as soon as we can. We aim to give you an appointment time frame that is convenient to you while you’re on the phone.

Your local engineer


Priority mission Your claim becomes a job, which is sent to an engineer in your area via HomeServe’s own communication network. It comes up on their Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with your details and information on your problem. Sorting out your home emergency becomes their priority mission.


Strapline goes here


Wheels in motion Our engineer will be on their way as quickly as possible. Using a satellite navigation system to plan their route, they will estimate when they will get there and will call ahead with an estimated time of arrival.


Great service Our engineer will show their HomeServe identity and investigate the problem. They’ll check they have the necessary parts to fix the problem, do a risk assessment, and explain the work before starting.

Into action Got the skills

Our engineers were tested on their plumbing skills before employment, and receive continual training updates. We have invested in training apprentices over the last three years.

Fully equipped

Each engineer’s van contains all the tools and parts needed to carry out most plumbing repairs, and the stock is replenished weekly. Image: © iStockphoto

Across the nation

Each engineer works as part of a regional team, regularly meeting their Area Service Manager who provides training, support and advice on customer service.

P&D CENTRE, Banbury


Expert diagnosis If it’s a straightforward job, an engineeer will be assigned the job straight away. If it’s more complex, our experts will analyse the problem, identify what special equipment and skills are required, and send the best engineer for the job to you.


Tidy and efficient We strive to get your claim completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. HomeServe Plumbing and Drainage resolves 94% of call-outs in one visit, and we’ll clean up afterwards.


Satisfied customer If the work has been completed to your satisfaction, you’ll be asked to sign it off digitally on the engineer’s PDA. With the job done, they will pack up their tools and head off to their next job. 15

Our service

HomeServe to the rescue! A toilet that won’t stop running is a big worry when you’re on a water meter. HomeServe plumber, Tony Jacobs sorts it out…


Arriving on the scene Tony Jacobs shows his HomeServe ID card and reassures Joan.

It’s the upstairs loo. It won’t stop running. I’m on a water meter and you do not want to waste water – not if you can help it.


olds, …with Joan Reyn er om st HomeServe cu

Don’t worry, we’ll get it sorted.


New equipment To diagnose the problem with the toilet flush mechanism, Tony will use his new telescopic mirror device.

Our service Looks like the valve in the dual flush mechanism is broken. They can be a bit tricky sometimes.


Cistern out Concealed toilets and dual flush mechanisms can be tricky, but Tony’s got the pan and cistern out and has identified the problem.


New parts Tony decides to replace the entire flush unit. He gets the parts required from his van.

Thank you, it’s as good as new.


Good as new Before tidying up, Tony tests the toilet’s flush several times and shows Joan it’s now working.

With the work complete, Tony tidies up and disposes of the broken flush unit. Then, Joan Reynolds signs Tony’s HomeServe PDA to approve that she’s satisfied with the work. And Tony Jacobs heads off to help his next customer, who has a leaking sink…

The end 17

Prize draw

WIN £1,000 Bathroom looking tired and worn? Maybe you want a new colour scheme and an up-to-date shower. Or perhaps a shiny new tub with matching basin? Enter our competition and you’ll be in with a chance of winning £1,000 which you could put towards a new bathroom. Just think – on top of winning £1,000 you might even end up saving on your water bills if you are on a water meter and decide to install a water-efficient toilet. How you spend the money is up to you, but if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to refresh your bathroom, turn to our feature on page 12 for some great ideas. Prize Draw Terms and Conditions • Promoter: HomeServe Membership Limited, Company Registered Number: 02770612, Registered Office: Cable Drive, Walsall WS2 7BN. • The prize draw is open to HomeServe customers resident in the UK aged 18 or over, except for employees of the Promoter, or of any other HomeServe group company, or their families, agents or any other person who is connected with the promotion or administration of this prize draw (together a “Person”). • To enter the prize draw, complete your name, address, contact details and policy number on the online form located at competition/autumn between 09.00am on 01 September 2013 (the “Opening Date”) and 11:59pm on 31 March 2014 (“the Closing Date”). Entries received before the Opening Date or after the Closing Date will not be entered into the prize draw. • By entering this prize draw online (www.homeserve. com/competition/autumn) and providing your email address you agree that HomeServe Membership Limited and its group companies may use your email address to keep you informed by email of products, services and offers that they consider may be of interest to you.


image: © iStockphoto

Enter our prize draw today and you could win £1,000 which you could put towards revamping your bathroom. Turn it into an oasis of peace and tranquility…

How to enter…

• Simply log on to competition/autumn and complete the online form with your address and contact details.

• E ntries must be received by 11:59pm on 31 March 2014.

• Only one entry per Person.

£1,000 (“the Prize”).

• One winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries made by a Person received between the Opening Date and Closing Date.

• If requested to do so by the Promoter, the winner will take part in promotional activities.

• No responsibility will be accepted by the Promoter for entries that are lost, incomplete, delayed, illegible, altered or damaged and such entries will be disqualified from the prize draw. • It is each entrant’s responsibility to ensure that their contact details they provide are accurate and complete. No responsibility will be accepted by the Promoter for the loss or delay of the Prize in the post. If the Prize is unclaimed after reasonable efforts have been made to contact the winner, the Promoter will be entitled to dispose of the Prize as it sees fit without any liability to the winner for having done so. • Entries which appear in the opinion of the Promoter to have not been submitted in accordance with these terms and conditions will be disqualified from the prize draw. • The prize draw will take place following the Closing Date and will be supervised by an independent person. The winner will be notified in writing by 14 April 2014. • The winner will receive a cheque in the sum of

• The Prize must be accepted as offered, there are no alternatives. • The Prize is non-transferable. • The decision of the Promoter will be final and binding, and no correspondence will be entered into. However, the name and county of the prize winner will be available by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Prize Draw Winner, Marketing Manager, HomeServe Membership Limited, Cable Drive, Walsall WS2 7BN. • Entry into the prize draw implies acceptance of these rules as final and binding. • Notwithstanding that the whole or any part of any of these terms and conditions may prove to be illegal, invalid or otherwise unenforceable then it shall be severed and deleted from these terms and conditions and the other terms and conditions and remainder of the term and condition in question shall remain in full force and effect. • The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw or amend this prize draw at any time without notice.

Article text: various sources used images: © Rex Features

Last word


Once a plumber, always a plumber? The plumbing trade has been graced by plenty of celebrities, including (very briefly) Bob Hoskins…


t HomeServe we’re serious about plumbing and drainage, with a nationwide network of engineers. It’s not an easy job, either. That’s what a young Bob Hoskins discovered before he became a successful actor. Like many aspiring entertainers he took on a range of jobs in his youth – he was in the merchant navy, a porter, steeplejack, banana picker and a fire eater. He also did a stint as a plumber’s mate, but it didn’t quite go to script. “I was an apprentice plumber once. I burnt the boot of the bloke I was with,”





“It’s me, Mario!” Hoskins returned to his plumbing roots when he played the lead in Super Mario Bros in 1993.


Hoskins remembers. “I was on a ladder and he was fixing a pipe up in the ceiling. I got a blowlamp and set fire to his boot! That was the end of the trade for me.” Hoskins went on to star in classics like The Long Good Friday and the blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit but somehow couldn’t leave the plumbing trade behind – in 1993 he appeared as the videogame plumber hero, Mario in the film Super Mario Bros.

Crossword: home maintenance Can you complete our DIY puzzle?



8 9 13







Down 1. Corrosion (4) 2. Control device that can be turned and adjusted (4) 3. They’re  the people that are always right! (9) 4. A constant loss of water in a system (4) 5. To fix a fault or, put in order (4) 9. A continuous, slow seepage from a tap (4) 10. Device to turn off the water supply, the - - - tap (4) 11. An electric circuit will do this when overloaded (4) 12. When there’s a problem, close or - - - down any system (4)

Across 1. Flexible pole for clearing a drain (3) 3. Visits, goes to a property (5) 6. Provides a protective cover over a leaky joint (5) 7. This can be trapped in a radiator (3) 8. A tap – but not a cold one! (3) 13. Leaking water over time can cause wooden floors to do this (3) 14. Wire to go with live and neutral in an electric plug (5) 15. Scottish musical instruments and things to carry water (5) 16. Keep areas safe and tidy, - - things away (3)

Solution ACROSS: 1 Rod 3 Calls 6 Seals 7 Air 8 Hot 13 Rot 14 Earth 15 Pipes 16 Put. DOWN: 1 Rust 2 Dial 3 Customers 4 Leak 5 Sort 9 Drip 10 Stop 11 Trip 12 Shut. 19

0 0 8 0 99 9 7 24 One number is all you need‌ All day, every day, HomeServe is just a phone call away

MAG2 09/13


Stay cosy this winter with your Guide to taking care of your home from Homeserve.

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