Did I sound just a tad smug in my previous post almost a week ago? Being self-satisfied and boasting about how good things are never pays off. Not for me, anyway. This week has been a humdinger for stumbling blocks and domestic misery.
Paul the gardener called for a morning’s work; hardly had we got started when heavy clouds chose Valley’s End, and my garden specifically, to shed their load. Paul carried on regardless, so I couldn’t chicken out. We adjourned to the compost heaps under some large trees - the rain was less wet there - and chatted while we worked. Suddenly Paul burst into tears. “Sorry”, he sobbed, “I just don’t know what’s wrong, I’ve been very weepy and desperately depressed for days.” He knows that I understand, being a depressive myself, so I let him talk and made appropriate noises. There’s nothing else you can do. Eventually he calmed down and we continued working.
I spoke to him a day later and he said that the cloud had lifted, he felt much better and hoped he wouldn’t need to weep into my compost next time. I suggested that peeing into the compost might be better than crying. We also agreed that it would be more productive if he didn’t top himself until he’d helped me to lick the garden into shape. Gallows humour. Depressives find that sort of talk funny.
Then the dog came home with new lesions on her face. The last course of treatments was to have sorted them out permanently. Back we went to the Vet’s Surgery. “Come back in the morning”, Sarah said, “and let George have another look at her”. George had seen her before, as had Anne and Percy, two other Vets. So that makes four opinions altogether, so far. George said all that remained to do was to take blood samples and undertake a biopsy under full anaesthetic. Millie has become a very expensive dog, and there’s no end in sight to the Vet’s bills. But we love her.
She had her op on the same day as Beloved had to be taken to hospital for a consultation with another one of his many specialists. This pretty much meant that I was on the road from nine in the morning to near six in the afternoon, ferrying Millie and Beloved around. I get tired and a long day’s driving and hanging about is not what I had planned for my old age. I was exhausted at the end of it, looking forward to some time off.
Then, out of the blue and without any prior warning, two basins in the downstairs loo and bathroom seized up. Nothing would shift the water. A plumber was called and his attendance promised for the following day. And the day following that day. He still hadn’t called this morning. We have other wash basins, so the lack of these two in the bathrooms was inconvenient rather than serious . . . . . . .
. . . . . until the boiler which supplies hot water and heating for the whole house packed up. It sits next to one of the basins. One minute Beloved was doing dishes under running hot water, the next the water turned cold. The boiler man from Bosch was called and his attendance promised for next Thursday.
“What?” “Next Thursday?”
We had only just had a service done and paid through the nose for it. Bosch is a very reliable firm and they pride themselves on the perfect workings of their product. We wouldn’t dream of having any other boiler, and the only engineer we would let near it would have to be a Bosch trained one. They are expensive, but worth it for the peace of mind. Until something goes wrong . . . .
“Calm down”, the lady at the other end said. “That’s just for the records. I will of course, right now, see if one of our engineers is in the area before next Thursday. I’ll be in touch”.
She was as good as her word. The engineer called this morning. “Nothing much wrong with the boiler”, he said. I’ll fix a new fan, it sounds a bit rough. Still, while I’m here, I’ll have another look”.
“Funny”, he said, "the boiler seems to be full of water. Did you say this basin is blocked?”
It turned out that the boiler is a condensation boiler and needs an outlet for the condensation it produces. (Aren’t I clever, I understood that!) And its outlet was blocked.
I was ready to go spinning down the plughole myself by now. The plumber supposed to come and fix the blocked drains still hadn’t called. I rang Kevin, his boss, the owner and slave driver of the building company involved and complained - well, threw myself on his mercy. Beloved says I’m good with people like that. Besides, we frequently use the company and always pay our bills on time.
Kevin came within the hour, had a chat with the boiler man who was just packing up his equipment and set to work. He took apart pipes in both rooms, found nothing, opened manhole covers outside, found nothing, and scratched his head. “I’m going to have to take the bath panel off and see what’s under the bath”, he said. He did, found the blockage in a complicated junction of pipes from several directions, removed it, replaced the pipes, fixed the panel back into place, and after a bit of a clean and tidy up, you wouldn’t know anything had been amiss.
So there you are, keep flushing your pipes thoroughly, and all will be well. I wish the same could be said for Millie and Beloved. Not to mention my own pipes.