Useless strikes again

I expect that you, dear reader, are as fed up of reading stories about builders and plumbers as I am of telling them. The sad truth, of course, is that the events narrated continue and show no signs of ending so I am somewhat preoccupied with them and naturally vent my feelings in my blog.

I have already told you about the Useless Plumber and his depredations so it will come as no surprise to you that his story, far from ending, continues. In my last episode of the Saga of the Basin, you will recall that the Useless Plumber had failed to install the basin (not entirely his fault, this time) and promised to return on the morrow once the wall had been repaired but had failed to turn up.

On Wednesday morning, I got up, washed and dressed, put on my welcoming smile and prepared with wait for a plumber to appear. The morning passed and midday appeared over the horizon. My phone rang. It was Alice and her message was that the plumber was definitely coming but that he was still busy with another job. I sighed. I made lunch and ate it. At 12:17, the doorbell rang. I had vaguely hoped that they might send a different plumber but no, hopes dashed, it was the Useless Plumber again. “Come to fit the basin, mate.”

At 1:19 he announced that the job was done. At no point did he invite me to inspect the work. After all, I’m just the tenant who has to live with his handiwork, not anyone who matters.

When Tigger came home I showed her the basin, remarking that it was a good size and that, to my eyes, it seemed exactly the same as the old basin that we had rescued and wanted to keep. Yes, said Tigger, but don’t you think it’s not straight, that it slopes forward? And, of course, the taps are still not symmetrical, despite our many references to this.

This morning I was perusing email over breakfast while Tigger readied herself for work. “Come and look at this,” she said. Uh-oh.

“This” was a puddle of water on the bathroom floor. “I think the basin is leaking,” said Tigger. “I think you are right,” said I.

Tigger went to work and I examined the basin more closely. It seemed that if you filled it so that water began to run out of the overflow holes, some of the said water reappeared around the joint where the basin meets the outflow pipe and dripped onto the floor. In my haste to fill the basin, I caused water to slop over the side of the basin. Tigger was right: the basin does slope forwards. Barely does the water reach the overflow holes when it starts to run over the side of the basin.

I picked up the phone and called Alice. Of course, I didn’t get through but I did leave a message. Now I am waiting for some sort of response, once more imprisoned in the flat until someone deigns to get in contact. I did ask Alice to send a different plumber, not the Useless Plumber, but he may be all they have.

On another topic: Have you ever had to deal with Parcel Force when they have failed to deliver a parcel? If you have, the following anecdote may be familiar.

I received a letter through the post – not a card dropped through the letterbox by the delivery man, as you might expect – and the letter said they had failed to deliver a parcel and would try again the next working day but, of course, couldn’t tell me when. It would be sometime between 7:30 am and and 6 pm. So helpful.

No parcel appeared so I had recourse to the next stage explained in the letter: I called Parcel Force by phone. Naturally, I found myself listening to an automated voice that invited me to press 1 for this, 2 for that and 5 for “all other enquiries”. Like a fool, I pressed 2, “to arrange re-delivery”. I found myself in conversation with a robot. The robot assumed that I had a card with a map on the back when I had a letter which was blank on the back. The robot didn’t care. It cheerfully gave me instructions that made no sense and then abruptly said goodbye.

I tried again and this time pressed 5 “for all other enquiries”. To my relief, I found myself talking to a human being. “You pressed 2? Never do that. It’s not you that’s mad, it’s the system.” He arranged for my parcel to go to the local Post Office for a fee of 50p and before signing off repeated his advice: “Never press 2; it’s useless. Always press 5 and come through to us. We’ll sort you out.”

It’s always pleasant to find a haven of sanity in this mad world and when you discover that haven in the unlikeliest place, the pleasure is so much the greater.

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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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