We have had the plumbing brothers back in to finish off all the remaining plumbing jobs. I shall remind you of the history of our previous encounters:
Visit 1 - to replace bath, toilet and basin plus taps in upstairs bathroom. All seemed to go well, although the brand new bath taps and associated pipes didn't seem to deliver water at an adequate rate.
Visit 2 - to install a wonderful new insulated hot water tank to replace the previous ancient copper one. It was discovered that in the process of draining the header tanks, polystyrene balls were drawn into the hot water and heating system, and this is what may have been causing the impaired flow to the taps. We are left without heating or hot water for the weekend.
Visit 3 - Monday morning following visit 2, with the plumbers due to return to restore our hot water any minute, a leak from supply pipes under the bath results in a large hole in the living room ceiling. Hot water is restored, but over the ensuing weeks, we confirm that the flow to the bath is still compromised. We also discover that the bath overflow leaks - more water dripped through the living room ceiling after overfilling the bath, and one of the radiator taps in the downstairs shower now leaks very gently into a puddle on the floor.
Visit 4 - last week - to resolve the issue with the bath taps, fix the bath overflow and leaking radiator, and finally install the bathroom towel radiator. Obviously the header tanks must be drained again, and this time the ballcock sticks so that when water flow is restored, the tank in the loft overflows through the ceiling of Mr A's office and the upstairs hall (the overflow drainage pipe has somehow become disconnected).
No significant damage has been done - the ceiling didn't come down and seems to have dried out OK, although there appears to be a fine crack which we shall investigate. While we are fairly certain that our plumbing brothers are properly qualified, there are a number of other possibilities:
- we have a ramshackle old house where unexpected things can happen, and/or
- our plumbers are not very good at anticipating the worst and covering all eventualities, and/or
- they are very, very unlucky, and/or
- they are incompetent cowboys.
I think the first two options are the most likely. It is a great shame, because they were recommended by Alf, whom we trust and so far has not let us down. They are likeable chaps, and reliably answer the phone and turn up when they are supposed to. It is very difficult to find a good plumber, but I don't think we can trust them any more - each visit has caused some additional problem, and it is clear that even if they are entirely competent, they are not equipped to deal with the unexpected challenges that our house provides.
* Picture was taken from Hadrian's Wall, December 2004