28 July 2014

That'll teach me

Well, I obviously spoke too soon.

Things to be thankful for - yada yada. 

I am so grateful - etc etc.   

Glad I am safe - de-dum de-dum.

Then a big foot comes out of the sky (literally) and squashes me.

Last Friday morning had been yet another hot, oppressive, humid one with temperatures well into the high 20s if not nudging early 30s. I had rather foolishly been vacuuming the bottom half of my house, as I had not done it in weeks and was fed up with accumulation of dead spiders and cat fur. I had probably lost half a stone in perspiration whilst doing it. Afterwards I had decided to go up to my laptop upstairs with a long cool drink and clicked on to the Internet to relax for a while, reading emails/facebook comments etc. 

I had just received a lovely set of photos via facebook of Kay enjoying herself  at a club with her new friends in Tanzania, as well as another photo of her in her scrubs taken on the hospital ward. I was just thinking how happy Kay looked and was so proud of her. Then suddenly the skies got darker, menacing clouds started to scud by and I heard the all-to-familiar sound these last few weeks of thunder accompanied by flashes of lightning. At the same time, the trees started to toss to and fro as well as swirl some of their leaves to the ground, as if they were about to uproot themselves. The lightning and thunder also continued remorselessly and the rain, at first a light drizzle, became a pounding deluge. The humidity seemed even worse.  Although I have never been to the Tropics, the whole spectacle had the feel about it of a tropical storm, monsoon even. Not the kind of one you ever ever see in England as a rule. The rain was not just coming down in buckets, it was coming down in dustbins. Within minutes the road outside was like a river, the drains couldn't cope with the force of it.

When I had finished looking at what I needed to on the computer and was sufficiently refreshed  to continue with more housework, I suddenly noticed water running down the walls of my study. The carpet was soaked and there were bubbles forming between the wall and the wallpaper. A little trickle of water was also heading for the light switch. To my horror, the water was then soaking through the carpet, through the floorboards and running down the walls into the lounge downstairs, soaking the wallpaper, sofa and the carpet down there too. More water was causing a crack in the lounge ceiling and running out of that across the room. In the stairwell damp patches were appearing on the walls there. I rushed upstairs to the bathroom at the very top and looked out of the window onto the flat roof outside it. Water was pooling on the roof I had replaced two years ago and was also overfilling a small gully. Somehow the water was entering my house and had seeped through two levels of the house.

With pounding heart and dry mouth, I rang the dreaded roofing company. Dreaded, because you may recall the problem I had had with them when the roof was totally renewed two years ago (see here). I was promised they would send a team out to inspect the problem. While I waited for them, I also rang my insurance company and initiated a claim with them, as it was more than evident that I was going to have to redecorate at least two rooms and part of the stairwell. The landline phones had stopped working, no doubt the cables doing the breast-stroke somewhere underneath the flooded ground. Instead of a dialling tone, I got nothing but a sloshing sound. Grabbing my mobile instead, I was able to make contact with the insurance company. The questions were endless. You would think I was applying to spy for the KGB. The insurance company told me to get the leak fixed immediately to prevent further water damage and they would send a surveyor along sometime this week to see for himself what the damage was.
two rooms with wallpaper like this

stairwell ceiling

water coming through lounge ceiling
stairwell wall

study carpet and water underneath bookcase

The roofers duly turned up and inspected the inside of the house and then headed for the roof. The man in charge said he could see the problem - the roofing felt had blisters. I nodded as if I knew what he was talking about, although of course I hadn't the foggiest. He seemed to suggest it was unusual for felt to blister like that, so I assumed I had got some faulty felt up there. I felt reassured that if that were the case, the 12-year guarantee I had been given two years ago would cover it. I rang the roofing boss back to ask i) whether any repair to the roof would be covered by the guarantee and ii) whether it would also cover redecoration of the rooms or whether I would need to get that from the insurance company instead. 

You may recall from that previous encounter with him (see here again) that he is not the nicest of people to do business with. He shouts (more like explodes) when challenged and can threaten to involve his solicitor when in a tight corner. This time was no different. He refused to accept liability, said his men had given me false information and that the problem had been caused by a blockage in the downpipe. He must be extremely clever, I thought, being able to make this judgement from the comfort of his office some 4 miles away without having seen the roof for himself. I was then able to hear both sides of the conversation with the workmen ( he phoned them while still on the phone to me so I heard his side of the conversation and I deliberately went outside and stood next to the workmen , unbeknown to him, so I heard their replies.) He basically convinced them that they had seen a blockage to the downpipe and that the blisters on the felt were not causing the problem. I challenged him and said he had told them to say that and then he exploded on me. By this point I couldn't have cared less any more, as I had lost the will to live and did not want to provoke the boss any more than I had already done.  I felt I should leave it to the surveyor to contest it.  It still didn't explain why, if the water couldn't get down a downpipe, it would not just eventually pour off the flat roof. Why would it find a way in to my rooms below, if the roof was watertight and not at fault? Furthermore, once the men had gone and I was able to look out of my bathroom window again, I noticed the men had painted some white stuff along all the joins of felt. Why do that, if the roof was not to blame?
Why paint stuff on the joins of the gully?
Why? again

I now await the insurance company surveyor and will see what his view is. But whatever the reason or whoever is at fault, I am not feeling so thankful today. That'll teach me to speak too soon and be self-righteous in the process. Right now, I could murder someone or something!

Mind you, I am still thankful for these lovely flowers from my garden

and for lovely neighbours who brought me these to cheer me up when they heard what had happened.


nappy valley girl said...

You poor thing! I know just the deluge you mean, we were in the park having a picnic and I have never seen rain like it. The basement of our house was flooded - luckily it's rented so not our problem really, but really feel for you having to sort all that out. I hope it's not too much of a nightmare.

Nota Bene said...

Oh disaster...I've got a lot to catch up with so I'm starting with this disaster and working backwards...I remember the roofing issues...my absolute sympathy. If you had the same rain we did, it was amazing...never seen anything like it before...

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Oh no, what a nightmare Addy. We heard about the storms on the news but they pretty well passed us by in the south west. Perhaps I shouldn't speak too soon! Hope you get sorted soon and without too much bother. A

K Ville said...

oh it never rains but pours :(

Last thing you need is that company back in your life, as you say, let your house insurance company manage it if they will

Sometimes it doe sfeel as though just when things are getting good and easy and all 'thankfully' something has to rain on our parade. I'm sure it's just 'shit happens' but it always feel sso damned personal doesn't it.

Good luck in the clear up xx

the veg artist said...

That's a horrible thing to have to deal with - so sorry for you. For some reason the storms missed us here in (normally) wet West Wales, but could see from the news that some people had it really bad.

Millennium Housewife said...

Love the image of cables doing breaststroke! Thank you SO much for stopping by, it felt like a reunion xx

DD's Diary said...

How awful! And the roof man sounds like a real horror too. At least you got on the case straight away with the insurance. I would have tried to pretend it wasn't happening for a week or two!

Flowerpot said...

Oh you poor thing Addy... best of luck. And I'm glad you at least have some flowers to cheer you up xx

Ellen said...

Oh, what rotten, bad luck Addy. After all the hard renovation work you tackled a couple of years ago. I hope the insurance will cover all the damage and that you will be able to claim compensation from the 'horror' roofing company. I trust you won't be relying on that company to carry out repairs to your roof this time. How do these companies get away with such appalling service.

Sherri Wood said...

Oh no! I hope you could recoup some of the losses on this one. But it could have been a lot more dangerous too if the water messed with your electrical wiring, so thankfully you dodged that one. Roofs should be able to handle routine thunderstorms such as what happened here. Although that last one was really something, so it might be that your roof needed some fixing up regardless. I hope they were able to fix it by now. Take care!

Sherri Wood @ Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma