Friday, 18 September 2015

Plumbing Dilemma

Steve the plumber

Plunger for a pound.

There are some things that we in the western world take for granted and the flush of a toilet and the draining of water from the kitchen sink are 2 of 'em, unless of course you are in Greece, where if you are lucky enough to be short enough of cash that you have gone on a cheap and cheerful holiday to the beautiful island of Paros, you might be able to, as I did to sit and pee and number 2 and then watch it all disappear through the open drain in the loo floor. It's an odd thing to remember I admit, given how idyllic the place is, but the loo situation was pretty extreme, and possibly a purposeful reminder not to throw other stuff down the loo. Of course if you happened to accidentally flush something away and were pretty quick and good with a fishing rod or similar, the hole in the floor could have proved quite useful. I am pleased to say that I did not have to put that to the test. 
When we built the Big House, Steve became the plumbing Nazi. He gave minute and specific detailed instructions to our darling plumber who was, I am pretty sure, suffering a grande depression after the recent breakdown of his marriage. The plumber was a ham fisted bloke not known for his finesse and so Steve watched him like a hawk and measured degrees and heights and noticed plumbing pipe circumferences and falls of floors and all stuff necessary to ensure that all 5 loos flush gaily away and that all the bathrooms as well as the laundry and the kitchen run like well oiled machines, without the oil cos I understand that too much oil is not a good thing for the pipes, but I could have just made that up. 
Anyway, as a result of Steve's fastidiousness and possibly because he might be ever so slightly OCD, all the plumbing works perfectly.
This is not the case in the little London flat we are renting for the next 2 months.
The kitchen sink just does not drain away.
We are renting from a colleague of a friend so there is at least a thin thread of 'Howdy do'. We paid all up in advance before we moved in.
So when we noticed the problem - about a minute and a half after we got in, cos you know I wanted to do something pretty extreme like wash my hands, well Steve mentioned to our landlord, and he copped a bit of a frosty response something like, 'Well what does it matter? The dishwasher works.'
Neither of us like fundamental things which don't work. If we were here for a couple of days then maybe I could find joy in the silliness of running down the stairs to rinse a cloth in the bathroom or wash some vegetables in loo, but 2 months is looming quite long into the distance and I imagine my smile will wane sometime soon. Steve's already has.
We went to the POUND SHOP, a UK institution where, you guessed it, everything costs a pound. Yeh it's a shit shop of rather epic proportions but today for less than a fiver we came out with what Steve imagined might clear the blockage. In my very best Strine accent I talked the manager out of a long strip of plastic that is used to display cheap shit, and that combined with the curtain wire stuff and some draino were the plumber's - Steve's tools of the trade. McGyvering is not something that sits well with Steve, whereas for me after years of fixing stuff in my house myself cos I had no cash to pay a tradie, well it's something I am pretty good at. I tied a couple of bits of plastic together with a bit of ribbon I found in the back of a drawer and Steve set about his task.
Here's the TOOLS, or maybe that's us?
To say there was shit everywhere is something of an understatement. No water, and no damage just big chunks of shit fished out of what Steve imagines are very poorly plumbed pipes.
Anyway, there is some improvement. The sink smells cleaner and now it drains away, even if as slowly as a bunch of old people gumming their way through very tough steak while their dentures are being cleaned.
I found a pommie style bucket thing that I have seen used in kitchens over here to wash up in, instead of the sink. Yeh it sits in the sink and the idea has never really hit home for me. but I reckon it might be ok to your wash hands and then as and when is needed tip the bucket into the plants on the balcony or if I am feeling energetic I can run it down the steps to the loo. Yeh that's not gonna happen. 
So here's the dilemma. Should we make a fuss of this with the landlord? If we didn't know him from Adam, we certainly would, and Steve wouldn't have spent hours today, up to his armpits in drain blockage shit. Or maybe we should just imagine that we are in some third world place and enjoy it's rustic nature.
Would YOU make a song and dance until it is fixed? 

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