I dug out my PC Repair Kit (Phillips head screwdriver, shifting spanner and swiss army knife) from the computer room, patted Scruffy and said he was a GOODDOG, and headed back to the bathroom with a small dog on my heels.
Behind the decorative tap cover I could see a steady drip of water into the wall cavity: the washer that seals the tap bit that screws into the socket-thingy on the pipe had cracked. I have no idea what those bits are called. I'm a PC techo, not a plumber. The pipe ends in a sort of threaded socket, and the bit that turns to let the water out srews into it. That washer, not the little round bit inside with a short stem that does all the actual water controlling stuff when you turn the tap.
I was about to go birko with the spanner and dismantle it all like the expert I'm not, when a little voice (not Scruffy, who was watching from behind the glass where water can't get him) said "Mains!"
Yes. There is another tap somewhere, probably out the front, that will turn off the water to the house. I knew it had a meter attached which made a noise while water flowed, so I turned on a garden tap, patted Scruffy and said he was a GOODDOG, and went listening in the garden. Something under a pile of compost was going "tick tick tick tick tick tick." Found it! The garden tap died and I felt very pleased with myself, so I told Scruffy he was a Good Dog and we went back to the shower.
Now I could go birko with the spanner, so I did. Here's something to remember: When you turn off the shower taps, the 1 metre of pipe between there and the shower head still holds water. When you remove the obstruction, like the tap for instance, gravity makes the water rush down the pipe and out the hole, like the one made by removing the tap. The water floods through the hole and gushes away from the wall toward the idiot who just went birko with the spanner. And his little dog, too. The idiot with the spanner heroically sheilds his dog from the horrible touch of clean water by absorbing most of it into his shirt, shorts, undies, socks and shoes. The dog, who will happily spend hours swimming in a filthy river, is hit by a thimbleful of tap water and retires hurt.
I had to find Scuffy to tell him he was a gooddog and he followed me back to the plumbing.
The actual repair was easy and stress-free, which surprised me a lot. I was expecting all sorts of problems. I mean, it was plumbing, not a broken computer. Those are easy.
The only stress came when Polly ran inside, discovered the wet carpet and had a BADDOG puppy rolled newspaper flash-back freak out. She hid in the kennel for hours and wouldn't listen to the wet idiot no matter how many times he said GOODDOG.