I’ve now lived in my new home for one calendar month. It’s been challenging to say the least. The most traumatic bit was three floods in as many days, a split water tank, and a squashed soil pipe. I pitied the poor young man sent in to deal with the latter. Somebody had parked their car over the drain that needed lifting, and gone off to work, so the problem couldn’t be resolved until that person was home again and able to move their car. By this point it was 8 o’clock at night and bitterly cold.
The young man, collar turned up and head wrapped in a balaclava, got to work. He wasn’t much older than my son. He was unable to wear cumbersome gloves and I kept worrying about his hands being frozen.
‘Offer him a cup of tea,’ said Mr V.
‘Good idea,’ I replied.
We then ate our dinner while the young man laboured away outside. Every now and again I’d glance at the window and see, on the other side of the glass, small pockets of mist. It was the young man’s hot breath on the cold night air. My heart squeezed with concern.
‘I’ll offer him some dinner,’ I told Mr V.
‘Yes, he must be starving.’
We then spent the next half hour interrupting the young man’s work with various offerings of egg and chips, a chip buttie, toast, crumpets, you name it. Eventually the young man said, ‘Um, I’m dealing with a soil pipe and to be perfectly honest I have no appetite right now.’
Somewhere in the depths of our brains, a light bulb went on.
‘But I’ll have another cup of tea,’ he smiled wanly.
Since then, the young man has had a few other drains to contend with. It would seem that somewhere along the way there was a workman with a grudge making mischief. Certainly it has been too coincidental that a number of other neighbours have also had problems with their soil pipes. We were lucky. Mr V emptied his bath and the whole lot came out of the downstairs toilet. Clean water. One of our neighbour’s wasn’t so lucky. With much joyful anticipation, she’d stepped into her brand new double rainfall shower while her husband locked himself into another bathroom elsewhere in the house. While she spun dials and reached for her foaming shower gel, her husband contentedly parked his bottom anticipating an uninterrupted ten minutes with his newspaper. The screams that followed from his wife were akin to Tippi Hedren’s shower scene in The Birds. Except in this case the film was The Turds. Yes, the toilet had backed up into the shower.
Anyway, that’s enough of that. Suffice to say I met another new neighbour yesterday who moved in on Friday.
‘Hello!’ he smiled, although his smiled was tinged with anxiety. ‘Can I ask if you’ve had any problems since moving in?’
Shall I tell him or will you?
Which reminds me. Somebody broke into our local police station and stole every single toilet. The cops are working on the case, but right now have nothing to go on…