Today was one of two days free from building works. We didn’t have to up-end the bed or pack things away. I even had a bath.
After the Demolition Team left on Monday, we saw that the switch for turning on the water heater was covered in duct tape. We reasonably assumed this meant it couldn’t be used. This was slightly puzzling as they had connected up both taps of the temporary sink and water came out of both of them.
When the electricians came yesterday, I asked if it was possible to use the hot water heater. Oh yes, they said, it’s still connected. They reckoned the demolition gang had taped the switch because they had broken it. “But it can be used,” they assured me.
The electricians had to move the sink and therefore disconnect the taps. When they reconnected them later, no water came out of the hot tap. Not even a gurgling sound. I tried the hot tap in the bathroom and found that the water ran very slowly but dwindled to a thread. This worried me because if the water wasn’t running, it might be dangerous to switch on the heater.
I phoned the management team and found they were still there. I explained the problem. They were sympathetic but said nothing could be done until the next day when they would send someone round as a matter of urgency. When Tigger came home, I explained all this to her and, to demonstrate, ran the bathroom tap. It ran normally. I rushed into the kitchen and tried the sink’s hot tap. It gurgled a bit and then ran normally. There must have been an airlock or something that had cleared itself.
Not wanting the plumbers to come round on a wild goose chase I rang the building managers again but they had of course gone home by now. I left a voicemail and hoped that would do.
So this morning I had a bath and washed the dust out of my hair, knowing my cleanliness would last no more than a few minutes. The bath was full of dust and the surround had been ripped off so I had to be careful not to splash water over the sides. I poured water from a bucket into the bath to flush the dust out.
While they were here, the electricians installed a new set of door bells with entry phones, thus ending our first line of defence against doorstep evangelists and sundry nuisance callers. Still, it’ll make things easier when we are expecting a delivery. The bell rang for the first time this morning. I picked up the phone and said “Hello, yes?” Silence. “Hello, yes?” I repeated and heard a startled reply – the caller had obviously not expected to hear a voice come out of the tiny loudspeaker. It was a building inspector, come to check the hallway for health and safety reasons, he explained. I let him in and left him to it.
Taking the bus to Camden Town felt almost like going on holiday after being cooped up for so long. Later, I went to pick Tigger up from work, like in the “good old days”. We wanted to visit Moggy’s and our journey took us fortuitously through Covent Garden.
I briefly mourned the disappearance of my old bookshop, now a shoe shop, and bought some tea at The Tea House in Neal Street. If you haven’t been there, pay it a visit. It is the most marvellous little shop with every imaginable sort of tea (and some unimaginable ones), tea pots (including those Japanese cast iron ones), cups and mugs and other tea-making equipment. A wonderful perfume greets you as you enter.
Our path took us to Food for Thought, the vegetarian restaurant further down Neal Street, and I realized from the glint in Tigger’s eye that this was no accident. We had a meal there and finally made it to Moggy’s before taking the 38 bus back home to the Dust Bowl.