Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Plumb crazy

We've had the plumber round. 

The WithaY bathroom is was a thing of beauty.  Spacious, well-lit, an excellent shower, a large, deep bathtub.  We even have a view of the woods, and the meadow, and the river.  Lovely. 

It's worked well for about 6 years or so, give or take the odd slight leak.  Right up until earlier this year, in fact, when the door to the shower cubicle started to stick as it was slid shut.  Of course, you have to close it all the way or when you turn the shower on, water will piss all over the floor and eventually bring down the kitchen ceiling in a rain of dirty water, limestone floortiles, plasterboard and dodgy crud crammed between the joists.  So, something to be rectified.

Before we went on holiday I rang the plumber to see if he could come over and take a look. He's very good, our plumber.  Thorough.  Yes, that's the word. 

One way and another we didn't manage to find a mutually-convenient date for the new shower cubicle to be fitted until after we came home.  Oh, and while he was here, I thought I'd get the bath taps repaired, as one of them has been a bit dodgy for ages.  Kill two birds with one stone, that kind of thing.

The plumber came.  He looked at the shower and told me it was a standard size, but an unusual shape.  He looked at the bath taps and told me that they were an unusual size and an unusual shape.  He looked at the tiles on the walls and told me they were an unusual shape.

I have a freakily unusual bathroom, it seems.

The nice, thorough, plumber told me that he could order in all the parts (taps, shower cubicle, fittings etc) and get the job done over a couple of days.  As I am still off work* as I still can't drive**, this week seemed the ideal opportunity. 

It all started in earnest yesterday.  At 0800.  Eight AM.  In the morning.  I was already up and showered and hair-washed as I guessed that the shower would probably be out of action overnight, and I greeted him with a cup of tea and a cheery smile.  He scampered upstairs, strewing dustsheets in his wake and got right down to business. 

There was a good deal of crashing.

After a while I stuck my head round the door, and almost screamed in horror.  My beautifully-tiled shower had several tiles missing from one corner.  Not part of the original plan.  The plumber said "Don't look at it!" and ushered me out.  I asked why the tiles were missing.  He said that they'd come off the wall when he took the shower cubicle off, because they hadn't been stuck on properly. 

Now, we had already had long complicated discussions about the tiles.  I love those tiles.  They are one of the things I really like about the bathroom.  We don't have any spare ones, and I had resigned myself to the fact that the tiles around the bath would have to be replaced, probably with something different.  The original tiles were too hard to track down, what with their freaky shape*** and all.

So the fact that four of them had been removed from one corner of the shower was a bit of a fucking problem, really. 

I went and made a cup of tea, genuinely upset by this turn of events.  Yes, I know, I'm a contender for one of Belgian Waffle's First World Problems posts. 

The plumber said he would carefully chisel off the tiles around the bath and we'd be able to use some of those for the shower.  He was careful, but I think using a chisel is not always the best idea on a plasterboard wall.

Even if it's got tiles on it.

Additional ventilation?  Extra storage for bath necessities? Somewhere to post a letter from the bank you don't want to read?  Suggestions appreciated.

Things got really interesting after that.  As he removed the bath taps, artfully positioned and a work of glorious modern gleaming chrome, he announced that they had originally been plumbed right into the wall, then cemented over.  He was going to have to change that, in case we ever had a problem.


We can't use the shower.  We can't use the bath.  I may have to wash my hair in the toilet. 

On the bright side, he went to a specialist tile shop, showed them one of the now-useless tiles from the shower and they told him they could order some in, even though they are a freaky shape, a non-standard size and have been discontinued.  We had high hopes for this afternoon, but nothing had arrived by 6pm.  Fingers crossed for tomorrow, eh?

If anyone wants me, I shall be in the garden, washing my feet in the birdbath.

*Starting back on Monday in London, working at home tomorrow and Friday, hurrah!

**The ankle.  Remember? Yeah you do.  Possibly fractured, possibly not, still swollen and revolting to look at., thanks for asking.

***Rectangular.  I know!  Crazy!

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