I make my excuses at work and jump in a taxi, having no real idea what to expect or what to do. When I get in there is water dripping from the ceiling of my kitchen and the bathroom above it. My neighbour helps me to turn off the electricity and stop the leak in the attic. The houses are about 60 years old and we have no idea where the stopcock is to shut the water off. Fortunately someone had called the county council who were sending a guy out with a metal detector. I make some phonecalls and yes it is on the road just outside the gate. But nobody can say exactly where.
Eventually our hero arrives, resplendent in a baseball hat advertising racehorse breeding and a lit cigarette perched permanently at the corner of his mouth. He sets about waving the device over the driveway by the gate and we hear beeping almost immediately. My helpful neighbour grabs a shovel and digs a few chunks out of the concrete. Nothing to see here. More digging. The metal detector gets waved a bit more and we hear more beeping so we open the gate wider in order to clear some waving space. Not so much beeping now. Oh yeah, the gate is metal. And the gate-post, too.
We do also pick up some pipes that eventually lead us to the actual stopcock (with no digging required as it turned out), but not before council guy had discovered many other Things That Go Beep and adjusted the sensitivity on his apparatus. While standing around in the bitter cold outside my sodden semi-detached I could only laugh as we heard a beep and my neighbour pointed out “Well at least we know that your steel toe-caps are working!”.