Plumb loco

Just in case you thought that all the nonsense of the refurbishment and water from Silas’ overflowing buckets was over and done with, well, no, it isn’t.

I mentioned that we asked to keep the old basin in the bathroom because it was bigger than the new one they were proposing to put in. When the bathroom was refurbished, the old basin was removed and then reinstalled. It was fine but for one small detail: the taps were not symmetrically positioned. We mentioned this to the management. “No problem,” they said. “We’ll send someone to sort it out.”

Time passed then one fine day the doorbell rang and the Useless Plumber appeared. You may think me rude for calling him this but we decided early on that this was a reasonable designation and just recently, to my ironic amusement, I found that the management recognized who I meant the moment I said “Useless Plumber.”

I left him to get on with what I assumed was a simple job. He took quite some time over it. Then he called me. “Sorry, mate,” he said. “There’s not a lot I can do. It’s solid.” And off he went, leaving the taps askew as before.

It was only the next day that we realized that the basin was cracked. There was also blood down one side of it. The Useless Plumber had broken our basin, cut his hand in the process, and not thought to mention either fact. I phoned the management. Of course, I couldn’t get through so I left a voicemail. A couple of days later, a plumber arrived. “It’s about your basin,” he said cheerfully.

We examined the evidence. “I’ll get you a new one,” said he happily. I explained that we had kept the old one because of the size. “I’ll look around for a bigger one, then!” he declared and off he went. Time passed.

Yesterday the doorbell rang. It was the Useless Plumber. “Got to fit a basin,” said he. I sighed. What would he break this time? I left him to it and he laboured for a long while. I went to take a look. “Nearly finished,” said he laconically. Time passed and still he laboured.

“It’s no good,” he said at last. “The wall’s too bad. Can’t fix the basin to it. They’ll need to plaster the wall. Sorry, mate. I’ll fit the basin tomorrow.” Then he added “Plasterer’ll be along later.”

The plasterer duly appeared. It took him two minutes to patch the hole in the bathroom wall. “Will be back in one hour,” he declared. In fact it was several hours but he did return and do whatever it was he had to do. And went.

I got up bright and early this morning, and prepared for the arrival of the plumber. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, they will send someone else. So I waited. And then I waited some more. The postman came. Sainsbury’s came. No plumber came.

As we had appointments at the doctor’s surgery to get our flu jabs, I rang the management at 3:30. Naturally I couldn’t get through but left a voicemail to say that we had informed the plumber we had to go out at 5 pm and so if he didn’t come soon, we would send him away when he did come.

Half an hour later I received a phone call from the management. “Your plumber? Well, he’s just let us know he’s been called away on an emergency. So he won’t be coming today. Can he come tomorrow morning?” Another day gone to waste but who cares? No one, apparently. Maybe they think I am a sort of apprentice-boy, chained to my workbench, never going anywhere, always at their beck and call.

We went to the doctor’s and got our flu jabs. Tomorrow we may get a basin for the bathroom. That’s assuming the Useless Plumber can bestir himself, doesn’t get called away on an emergency, doesn’t crack the basin or otherwise cock things up. I now fully understand the meaning of the phrase “To live in hope.”

We awoke in the night to an unpleasant smell permeating the whole flat. It was Tigger who discovered the cause. The washbasin outlet had been plumbed directly into the pipe leading from the toilet to the sewer. This is common practice these days, apparently. In the absence of the basin, the outlet pipe had dried out and there was no water in the U-bend to prevent odours returning from the sewer pipe. This was cured by pouring water in to replace the seal.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day…


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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