Water has been gushing through the kitchen ceiling. Dave tells me it’s ‘par for the course’ and I mustn’t let it worry me.
Mrs C has gone to stay with her sister in Kent for a few days. Just as well. I think the shock would have knocked her sideways.
I’m no plumber. If I were, I’d install my own bathroom and give the money saved to the NHS, to build a new hospital. Even so, I can’t believe it’s ‘par for the course’ for water to be flooding through my kitchen ceiling at 10 in the morning.
Apparently Eric, in his enthusiasm to ‘learn the trade’, uncoupled something he shouldn’t have, while helping to remove our large jacuzzi bath. He did this while Dave was on the phone, taking one of several calls from an eclectic mix of potential customers and people who owe him money.
Dave assured me that, had he been ‘in situ’ (he’s fond of such phrases; keen to show that being a plumber doesn’t mean he hasn’t read books), the disaster would not have occurred.
Eric’s downfall, apparently, was that the existing pipework was defective and had been installed contrary to ‘standard practice’.
I’m tempted to add that if Eric were not a prat or had thought to have a bucket to hand during the procedure, the problem might not have arisen. Or, if it had, perhaps not with the same result. Whatever the standard practice is for pipework.
Things got even worse after that.
Once the leak had been stemmed and the kitchen floor mopped up, Dave and Eric extracted the bath and carried it downstairs. Well, to be more precise, they carried it halfway down the stairs. At which point, it being quite a large bath, and the stairs rather narrow, it got stuck.
It quickly became clear that the bath had reached the end of its journey, however hard they pushed. There was a lot of shouting, and the word ‘bugger’ cropped up a few times. Dave kept telling Eric to ‘get his end up’ – a technical term among plumbers which Eric, not having yet graduated, was unable to grasp.
Finally, after Dave called him a ‘stupid pillock’ once too often for his liking, Eric left in a huff, and was out of the door faster than a politician in a brothel raid.
Rising to the occasion, I pitched in as best I could, but, ten minutes later, the thing hadn’t budged an inch . Eventually, Dave decided there was only one solution. We would have to return the bath from whence it had come.
By now, I was rather hoping I might be able to return Dave from whence he had come, but didn’t like to say so for fear he would nip out of the bathroom window and leave me with a stairway feature that might not necessarily be the envy of all my friends.
I shoved and he pulled but nothing happened. At this point, Dave asked if I had anything with which to grease the banister.
Fortunately, the current Mrs C – ever prepared for a crisis in the food chain – has at least four of every consumable item in the house, so I was able to lay my hands on a tub of sunflower spread.
I’m not sure if it was the sunflower spread or just brute force but, eventually, we got the thing moving and managed to heave it back onto the landing and from there to the bathroom.
While I went off to make us a cup of tea, Dave wrestled with the knotty conundrum of why the bath wouldn’t go down the stairs when it had clearly once come up them. Eventually, he spotted some metal ‘feet’ attached to its base to secure it in position and give it support. These had clearly been fixed after the bath had been hauled up the stairs. Problem solved.
Sadly, it turned out the feet, having been welded on, couldn’t now be removed. Instead, Dave told me he would have to saw the bath in two. Having retrieved a lethal-looking blade from his van, he set to work. Unfortunately, the saw proved unequal to the task and, finally, he was forced to resort to a large hammer and smash it into several pieces.
When I asked if Eric would be all right, Dave said he wasn’t much bothered. Apparently, it’s not the first time Eric has disappeared during a job. Dave alluded to what he called ‘problems at home’, but elaborated no further.
When it came to his leaving time – he knocks off at 5 on the dot – Dave suddenly discovered his keys were missing.
After a search high and low revealed nothing, I suggested he might have left them under the floorboards. Dave said that wasn’t likely. Eventually, however, he disappeared into the bathroom and shut the door. For several minutes I heard frantic scrabbling sounds, as if a hungry rat had been let loose. Finally, when Dave emerged, he was clutching his keys. I asked him where he had found them.
‘Oh, they were where I thought they’d be,’ he replied and left it at that.
He says he’ll be late tomorrow but that I’m not to worry.
I am worried. And Dave telling me not to worry just worries me more.
Thought for the Day
‘He who laughs last … is just looking for attention.’
Enid Blyton (1897-1968)