We spent the first weekend in the house with blocked kitchen and bathroom sinks. Sometimes they would go down a bit and I would take the opportunity to wash some dishes. Eventually the sinks blocked completely and we had a clean dishes crisis. On the Monday our architect and his assistant spent a few hours here working on the measured survey. I was able to give tea and cakes in clean dishes. By Tuesday all I could offer them was one clean cup for a hot drink and two wine glasses for water.
The plumber arrived early on Tuesday afternoon. He said he would try to clear the pipe blockage but he wasn’t sure he would be able to. When he started to examine the vinyl flooring in the bathroom and asked which way the floorboards ran I started to get worried and had visions of our one functioning bathroom being ripped up to gain access to the blocked drains. First though he had to gain access to the pipe behind the bathroom sink. As he fiddled with the pipes I told him that there was standing water in the pipes and offered to fetch a towel if needed. Just as I said that he released the pipe and two sinks worth of water raced across the bathroom floor. I took three towels to mop up the mess. My main worry was whether the caustic soda I had poured down the pipes was going to give the plumber third degree burns. Luckily there was no chemical reaction. After about five blasts of the plumber’s special drain unblocking tool the drains ran clear again! Hooray! I arranged for him to come back later in the week to do a couple of other jobs – the toilet was making a dripping sound, the tap in the kitchen had seen better days and all the pipes under the kitchen sink needed sealing. We also had no idea where the stopcock for the water was located.
When he came back later in the week, the plumber replaced our kitchen tap and sealed all the pipes. He replaced the toilet’s flush mechanism and we also discovered that the house has four separate stopcocks. Not a bad day. The next day the toilet’s flush mechanism got stuck. The plumber had put silicone around the flush button as it didn’t fit the European toilet perfectly. Unfortunately the silicone was impeding the flush button and kept it depressed, meaning water was continually flushing through the toilet. When he installed the new mechanism the plumber explained that if this didn’t work we would need a new cistern/toilet. As we plan to replace this top floor bathroom eventually we decided we would live with my temporary fix, which involves the use of a biro to flush the toilet…
Over the last couple of days the power pull cord for the electric shower has been getting stuck. Rather than lose our shower we have decided to just keep the power on permanently. We hope that will stop future problems. To be honest though, it makes you so grateful every time you turn the shower on and have hot water. The same with the clean drains – I never appreciated the simple things we take for granted such as a sink of water happily gurgling down the drain.