Sunday, 11 October 2009

It never rains it pours

 Bright and early yesterday morning the mangement agency sent someone to fit a new washing machine. It transpired the man they sent wasn’t the right man for the job.

‘I’m a drain man’ he said.


He proceeded to pull the old machine out, in front of the adjacent cupboard to which he needed access for the hose. It really was a comedy of errors. The machine now wouldn’t go back into the space from which it came as it had come off of the piece of wood it had been sat on, it wouldn’t come out of the space it had been because it was still plumbed in at the back, plumbed into the hose which ran through the cupboard it now blocked. He cut the hose off under the sink by  the light of his mobile and tried to pull it through. Of course the cupboard was full of china teacups and saucers rolling pins and blenders. He worked the hose out and I decided to leave him to it. The next thing I heard was a pitiful ‘ut oh’, I peered in the kitchen to see him trying to jam the hose back into the washing machine as water spurted out, there seemed to be a lot of water on the floor too. The drainage man with a shaking hand desperately tried to shove the hose back into the washing machine as more water gushed out. I grabbed Erbie and ran down to see if there was a stopcock in the cupboard next to the front door – indeed there was. I grappled with it hopelessly, it wouldn’t budge. The GR shouted for me from above and I re-entered our flat to see him knee deep in water on the kitchen floor rummaging under the sink.

‘Stopcock?’ mumbled the ‘plumber’,

‘Yes, it’s downstairs.’ I squealed.

Both The GR and the not plumber had their hands full tempering the water flow in the kitchen, and I wasn’t strong enough to turn off the rusted stopcock downstairs.

‘Out the window,’ squawked the ‘I only do drains’ man, gesturing furiously towards the window with his head.

The GR hopped up onto the sink and forced open the sash window,

‘But there are people below’, The GR informed him.

‘They’ll soon move’ said the hose man.

The hose was forced out of the window sending an impressive fountain of water into the street. My thoughts turned to the apprentice languishing in the white van and my temper frayed. I stormed back downstairs, babe in arms to a door full of people. An audience had gathered outside, the chef from the café below was at the door, the foreman from the building site around the corner with his plumber, the old boy from upstairs was on the intercom saying: ‘Who is there, who is there? ’

‘Do you need help?’ the foreman asked

‘Yes!’ I squeaked.

I beckoned angrily at the youth peering from the van window.

‘ I can’t leave the van, it’s not locked’ He called across.

‘I’d rather you were upstairs crawling around than my husband’ I countered.

The foreman, real plumber, moody youth, myself and Erbie all piled back up the stairs. Everyone was surprised to see there already was a ‘plumber’ on site. The foreman’s plumber turned the to the flat off and our plumber looked suitably ashamed.

I rang the management agent.

The water stopped, a large pool had collected in the road outside. The kitchen floor was swimming, the hall carpet had started to swell, the light fittings in the café below were dripping water. The next hurdle was an electric one. The old machine was wired to an isolator switch, the ‘not plumber’ was also a ‘not electrician’ and I didn’t really want him to electrocute himself in my kitchen so I called back the management agent and said we needed an electrician. Midday was the soonest one could get to us.

The GR got out before he lost his temper.

The kitchen was a war zone, no one had had any breakfast, let alone a cup of tea. We had to wait. In the meantime they got the old machine out and the new one in. The electrician arrived and didn’t seem to do much.

The GR came back at lunchtime to find everyone still faffing about.  The electrician left, the ‘not plumber’ realised the new hose wasn’t long enough and had to go to King’s Cross to get a part, I half expected him not to come back. No one had had any lunch. Luckily I had an Ella’s Kitchen pouch to feed Erbie and I put him down for a nap. The plumber came back with the new hose and fixed it. I couldn’t watch any longer. He left about 3pm. We put newspaper down on the sodden hall carpet, and I cleared the surfaces of everything that had been under the kitchen sink and in the cupboard. I think we ate, it’s hazy, then we tried to relax. The electricity started to short out, firstly every hour then roughly every half an hour.

The GR lost his temper. Things such as ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, incompetent, I pay my rent, another day off ruined etc. I was given strict instructions that by the time he returned from work the following day, the electrics had to have been sorted and I had to have got the management agencies word in writing that we would be given 3 months notice before building work started on the back of the property.

1 comment:

everybodysaysdont said...

Oh my goodness! Poor you! xxx

Other nonsense

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Anon - after Larkin

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