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A Week of Workmen

It’s been a busy week, with more than its fair share of workmen – and it’s only Wednesday!

My regular, non-emergency, and reasonably-priced plumber is back. He came round on Monday morning to try to fix a dripping cistern in the bathroom. The toilet has been getting tricky to flush, and the cistern doesn’t seem to re-fill properly, meaning that there’s an annoying constant trickling sound. I have to take the lid off the cistern and fiddle around with the ball-cock to get it to stop dripping, which is clearly sub-optimal. I wasn’t prepared to pay the extortionate hourly rate of the emergency plumber to fix it, but it was getting really annoying, so I asked my regular guy to have a look. He’s replaced some parts, and it’s definitely better than it was. But I’m not convinced it’s completely fixed.

This morning my gardener was here doing his regular stint of weeding and pruning. He’d blocked my car in with his van, so I needed him to move it so that I could get out to go to work. But I couldn’t see him. Eventually, I found him half way up one of the terraces, standing on a narrow ledge, weeding the one remaining area of concrete blocks behind the extension. I politely asked him to move his van for a minute so that I could get off the drive, at which point he confessed that there was a problem. He was stuck up there! He’d climbed up using some handy footholds in the Malvern stone wall, but wasn’t at all confident about getting down again! Would I mind awfully fetching a ladder so that he could climb down?!

I had every sympathy, as that happened to me years ago. I’d climbed up there in a fit of enthusiasm to do some weeding, got stuck, and had to shout loudly for Christopher to move the ladder and help me down. I seem to remember that he was inside watching the TV at the time, so I was stuck up there for quite a while! In fact, that episode was a determining factor in us deciding to get a gardener in, rather than trying to do it all ourselves. So I fetched the step ladder for the gardener and made sure he got down safely…..

This evening I had a visit from what I hope is the last workman of the week. I’ve got yet another leak in the roof – only a few weeks after getting the last one fixed. I can understand and even accept it when I get a leak in the part of the roof that’s well over 100 years old. That’s really only to be expected, despite my attempts at ongoing maintenance. But this leak is in the extension, which is less than six years old and really shouldn’t be causing me problems. And yet there is a rather nasty stain which has recently appeared, corresponding to one of the valleys to the side of the big dormer window. The builder came around to have a good look, and decided the roof was largely sound, with the leak being due to an unfortunate combination of wind direction and driving rain forcing the water up into a narrow gap under one of the tiles. It should only be an hour’s job for his roofer to extend the lead work and re-set the offending tile. But then I’ll have to get the inside repainted to cover up the stain.

I can sometimes see the attraction of renting, when all the household maintenance is the landlord’s problem! As it is, it’s down to me to keep on top of it all – and that feels like quite a challenge on occasions.