Monthly Archives: January 2007

water world 3. requiem for a plumber

I am at home, having taken the day off because it’s ‘Powerflush’ day. The plumber was due between 10am and 12pm but arrived at bang on 11, not that I saw or heard him as I was taking a shit. When I returned to my PC I saw him out the window about to drive off and was required to belt downstairs like a girl and bang on the side of his van as he started to pull away. He stared at me with piercing blue eyes like I’d just vomited on his shoe.

“I fawt you was aaht, I been banging for bleedin’ aahs.” He chirped, I half expected him to shove his thumbs into his belt and click his heels together. I let him in and made him a cup of tea, two sugars I hasten to add. As I type this he’s running over the flat like a young scamp, humming the first few bars of the Bionic Man theme tune ad infinitum, it’s already grating but, despite the whacking fee, I’m looking forward to my heating returning to some sort of normality safe in the knowledge the black/orange sludge is being sucked out of my house and, by default, curing a condensation issue in my loft which is causing my kitchen ceiling to crack.

Last night I went out for a few ales with a friend in the local, after our usual conversation -politics, sex and day to day grievances- I popped into Tesco on my way home to get some bread. Inside a young ASBO mother was addressing her daughter from one side of the store to the other. “They ain’t got none,” she croaked, an incomprehensible reply was greeted with another, “THEY AIN’T GOT NONE!” just as I rounded a corner.

The full force of her words piled into my ear, I stepped back and she glared at me. “It’s they haven’t got any…” I said darkly, my right ear ringing from her lack of decorum. The young mother looked at me with a mixture of bewilderment and hatred. “What?” She said with more than a hint of aggression. I stood my ground aware that the shop had fallen deathly silent. I could feel my cheeks prickle. “It’s they haven’t got any…’they ain’t got none’ is a double negative, in actuality you’re saying that they do indeed stock whatever item you’re insisting they do not…” I tailed off, someone sniggered. “Fuck off” She said without missing a beat, she looked me up and down with her top lip curled into her gums and moved away. “Charming.” I retorted weakly. I hung around the back of the store near the bleach and washing liquid until she’d made her purchases and left, my face crimson as a result of rage and embarrassment. At least I’ve done my bit for English language, I thought, and I weakly punched the air.

The blue-eyed boy has started the pump; I’ve been informed it will take 3 solid hours before the all the Fuck has exited, he’s running in and out of rooms pausing only to bleed the ‘rads’ followed by a pedantic groping at various areas of said ‘rad’. Such is the look of concentration on his face one would’ve thought he’s setting the controls for a shuttle launch.

I have learnt this from him though, in between the Steve Austin/Artful Dodger routine he will offer constructive advice, for example, if your ‘rads’ are hot at the top and cold at the bottom in the centre, your system is full of shit. This means that as sure as day follows night the sludge in the bottom of your ‘rad’ will eventually corrode through the metal, which is exactly what happened to me on Saturday night…

Christ I’m bored shitless, I can’t even play with myself…

Maybe just a quick fiddle whilst he’s not looking.

water world 2. the drippening

So the plumber arrived about a minute after posting yesterday’s blog. Cheery cockney apples ‘n’ pears geezer who moves like he had burning haemorrhoids. He hastily isolated the radiator (he called it a ‘rad,’ yeah) removed it and then requested my attention as he poured the remaining contents of the ‘the rad’ into the gutter. The orange black sludge that shat out of the unit was, I was informed, the cause of the corrosion…indeed, the whole system, I was informed, was full of corrosive orange black sludge and that unless I had a £500 ‘Powerflush’ the other ‘rads’ would also begin to go toilet all over my Axeminsters.


After he sauntered off I checked his diagnosis and now believe what I was told to be true, I’ve arranged for the ‘Powerflush’ to be carried out tomorrow, the quote for the whole job, plus a new ‘rad’ is to the tune of £700.

But I didn’t accept this figure, I didn’t see why I should pay a penny when I’ve house insurance and after all, if I hadn’t discovered the leak the insurance company would be forking out £££££££££££’s to pay for a new bathroom floor and the cunts ceiling.

So this very morn, I called Legal & General to make a claim for, initially, a new radiator. Here is the conversation.

“Good morning, I wish to make a claim for a new radiator”
“Right sir…”
“Yes, my radiator, it has a hole in it and on Sunday it pissed, sorry, leaked black water all over my bathroom floor”
“Right sir, you’re covered for the damage to your floor”
“Yes, well I caught it in time so apart from some damp floorboards and some residual staining, it’s not a problem…”
“Then it’s not a problem, that’s good, sir”.
“No, there IS a problem because the leak was caused…”
“…The cause of the leak you’re not covered for as it’s wear and tear, if the radiator had damaged the floor then we’d be happy for you to make a claim…”
“So MY diligence has already saved YOU money…”
“…Okay, right, how about this. The plumber, Corgi registered, has, in writing, informed me that unless I have my entire system flushed out then all the other radiators, sooner rather than later, will in turn offer their black contents all over my floor and ceiling of the moron downstairs, and you’ll be making payment to me for a claim for thousands of pounds…”
“…So why not pay now for the ‘Powerflush’ and in doing so save yourselves a small fortune?”
“We don’t cover wear and tear, sir”
“Yes, I’ve gathered that, you’ve said it twice now and I’m not cloth-eared, my point is simple, pay a relatively small amount for the flush now in order to NOT pay thousands for damaged caused by NOT having the flush, it makes total sense does it not..?”
“You’re not covered for wear and tear”
*Click, Brrrrrrrrrrrr*

…I yelled into the ‘phone in the middle of a packed and now dead silent office.

I’ve taken tomorrow off for the ‘Powerflush’, that I have to pay for.

*pushes thumb tack into testicle*

water world

Up until one am last night my weekend was going rather nicely. I met up with drinks with some friends round Clapham Common, laughed my face out and got back to my flat at a reasonable hour, arseholed.

I awoke on Saturday feeling ropey, ate some kippers/toast, drunk pints of tea before heading off to fucking Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop. In addition to my Triumph I also have a white van, it’s been converted into a sort of camper thing but from the outside looks like any other shitty white van. The intention of its purchase a year and a half ago was to make the summer festival circuit that little bit more bearable but so far it’s primary use is somewhere to put my tools, bicycle and aforementioned weekly shop. Utter waste of money and resources but it allows me to purchase food/booze without fear of overloading, besides it has a very competitive sound system and, used to riding without music and cigarettes, offers a weekly opportunity to travel listening to Slayer and smoke, which is rather jolly.

On my return I unpacked the various comestibles, wines and lilies. The latter is something I insist on having in this flat, weekly, fresh. I’m not gay, incidentally, despite being good with colours. I pushed a ham, melted cheese and salad sandwich into my maw and prepared myself for a late pm pub encounter with some friends and my brother. We imbibed quite heavily in a atmosphere of public school cunts and those that clearly enjoy a game of rugger. It wasn’t ideal but we had arrived in time to get a table and throughout the evening were deliciously aware of being regarded with mixture of jealously and contempt. When done we staggered back to tube, said fond farewells and left for home. On exiting the tube station a bubble of gassy beer arrived into my mouth resulting in my being forced into spitting a geyser of white spume at the pavement in front of some less than impressed revellers. One of them clearly wanted to object to this act of filth but following a withering glare from yours truly thought better of it when he realised I was beyond care.

I rolled a joint when I returned and puffed happily watching something on BBC4 about British sci-fi, or something. I declined the temptation to listen to some music as this would inevitably lead to more alcohol, and I was already filled with booze. My intention was to ride to Camden on the Sunday and exchange a leather jacket and I didn’t want to face the journey with a hangover. At some point after one am I decided to turn in so I toddled off to the bathroom for a final whizz. Then everything took a dark turn for the worst.

When I entered the bathroom my feet were instantly soaked in freezing cold water. Confusion shifted into deep concern, as there was no earthly reason my bathroom should be half an inch deep in fucking H20. Panicking I desperately searched for the source of this atrocity and to my utter horror bore witness to the bathroom radiator weeing a jet of liquid from its base. Oh FUCK. I said. Then I said it again. I tore into the kitchen and shoved a washing-up bowl in the washing-up-bowl-space between the radiator and ever-expanding pond. To my utter dismay the bowl began to fill more quickly than I had anticipated and I worked out that in the space of less than half an hour the bloody thing would overflow. I tried to shut off the radiator valve but it made little difference, so I opted for draining the water from the top using the radiator key. I grabbed a bucket from under the sink in the kitchen and offered it up to the screw, I turned it once and black dribble of water trickled down the side of the unit, on the second turn the dribble was more of a spurt, on the third turn the screw shot out -flying over the bucket into the ether- and a high pressure jet of thundering water pissed into the bucket. Anticipating the pressure to subside following the shock of the sheer volume and force of the water, I started to feel more relaxed, by this time it was past two am and I was shattered. Needless to say this was a short-lived respite, the pressure didn’t subside, the bucket was filling rapidly and I couldn’t find the fucking screw. To make matters worse I was jammed in between the toilet and the wall, the bucket had exactly one precise location to catch the pressurised liquid so my ability to search for the screw was compromised to the point of panic. So I panicked heroically. I was literally screwed.

I hurled the bucket into the bath watching hopelessly as more water streamed onto my floor, a wooden floor I hasten to add with large unfilled gaps leading to the ceiling of the flat below. For a heart-stopping five seconds I splashed down onto my floor boards and scanned the area like a man in the grip of a Parkinson’s episode, there it is! Behind the toilet! I picked it up and tried to jam the screw into position but the force of the jet was such that the screw wouldn’t find purchase, water fired out in all possible direction soaking the parts of me and the bathroom that hadn’t already become deluged. After what seemed like a lifetime the screw bit into the thread and I was back to square one. I took the chance to replace the soaking towels from the floor with any material that would absorb water, tee-shirts, pants, jeans, on they all went, my main concern now being sued by the cunt below for a collapsed ceiling… The radiator was still happily leaking but I noticed the stream was now a fast drip. I emptied out the washing bowl and put it back into position. It was now gone two-thirty and I was exhausted, my eyes barely able to stay open. I monitored the speed in which the bowl was filling and surmised it would take roughly two hours before the bowl would overflow. I HAD to sleep so I set the alarm for four-thirty and went to bed. Two hours later I was bolt upright to the horrific buzz of the alarm, bleary eyed I wandered into the bathroom just as the water in the bowl was on the point of running over the side. The bowl was emptied and I returned to bed, this time setting the alarm for six-thirty. This awful procedure was repeated until ten-thirty on Sunday morning where a sufficent, albeit frugal, quantity of sleep offered the merest ‘what the fuck do I do now?’ Conjecture-window. I went immediately online to find a plumber who’d work on a Sunday without my having to re-mortgage this fucking shithole to pay the cunt.

After a bit of research I made contact with a polite Australian chap who arranged for a plumber to arrive between two and four pm, for the cost of £85 plus VAT and not including materials. Jesus Christ.

This wouldn’t necessarily be an issue but in the space of a month, my boiler has broken down twice (£500) my washing machine died (£400) and on Friday a slow puncture and replacement of rear brake pads on my beloved Triumph totalled £70.

My trip to Camden has been iced, my brother can’t make it for a drink tonight and on top of it all, the fucking plumber still hasn’t arrived and it’s gone four already.

I’m actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow.


something caught my ear last night

Following a quiet evening of wine, spliffs, broccoli and sausages (with caramelised onion) I reclined in my leather armchair and watched Annie Hall. It’d been twenty years since I last saw it and the Allen character had just turned 40. I’m not 40 yet (not far off) so I watched it through new eyes. It was horribly pertinent and rather comforting, not to mention brilliant.

Bit pissed I went to bed, as usual, with the dulcet tones of Radio 4 whispering in mine ear-hole and then I heard something that made me sit up…

According to US scientists (bear with me) deep inside the brain is an area called the insula. It would seem that when the insula is functioning it encourages addiction to smoking, and possibly other things, like booze and the horse. But if damaged by, lets say, a stroke, these addictions are compromised. Now it’s early days but it’s been suggested that pharmaceuticals may shortly be able to control the insula thereby leading to a ‘cure’ for various addictions.

I’m keeping my eye on the development of this story as it potentially offers me the opportunity to descend into a mire of alcohol and hard drug addiction and then simply recover without the merest pang of craving. It’s an ideal opportunity to expand ones knowledge and understanding of the fucked up-self, pursue a new life of carefree hedonism, scare the shit out of friends and family by dicing with ones own mortality only to make a full recovery, publish memoirs and wind up on Open Book with Mariella Frostrup at the peak of being feted and adored by the literary establishment…

It’s a fucking good idea actually, and it’s my idea, the ‘insula idea’ ™

another horrific day in the office

I have a fucking big black motorcycle, it’s a Triumph Speed Triple and despite being nearly 7 years old, it looks, sounds and goes beautifully. But all of these wonderful qualities turn against one when the ice is on the road. The reason for this is simple, the amount of contact a tyre has with the road is roughly the same size a 50p piece, now that’s 95 bhp bearing down on one little patch of rubber/road. In temperate conditions this is more than enough, but fling ice into the equation and instead of the tyre kissing abrasive grippy asphalt, it’s spinning on what amounts as nothing. It’s terrifying to say the least, mainly because if the bike goes down it will get hurt, and I don’t want her getting hurt as I love her. There I’ve said it.

So, after arriving at the office in a state of mild hysteria, the journey took a good 3 years off me, 2 and a half went when the back end flew out when pulling away from a junction, I am greeted with the news that some cunt in the office has stolen the contracted IT ladies laptop. Making matters worse she’s convinced she knows who did it, and the candidate for the theft is probably the last person who did.

Add into the mix my boss (looking like an undead Rick Stein fresh out of hospital following some sort of bowel jiggery pokery) and subsequent stress from a pile of stale bills, a half empty office, his impending meeting with the Police following said laptop theft and his obvious arse discomfort…The atmosphere in here is akin to the Gulag.

Oh fucking great the e-mails have gone down, AGAIN, my only connection with humanity has fucking collapsed. I’ll call the IT lady, she can remotely sort it using her Lap…