Back in September I had our family bathroom modernised and dragged it into the 21st century. It was high time as it was stuck in a 1960s time warp. I wrote about it here. I find it stressful having workmen in the house, particularly when they behave like Laurel and Hardy, but don't like the idea of leaving the house to give them free rein in it either, so I end up on tenterhooks killing whole days at a time, keeping out of their way, not being able to relax to anything, but serving multiple cups of tea and coffee (Greg always used to say a workmen needs his thirst quenching regularly).
Always a glutton for punishment I decided to repeat the whole exercise, but this time to update my en suite bathroom, also stuck in a 1960s time warp. I employed the same plumber to do the work. He and the young lad he employs as his gofer make an excellent job of the bathroom, but manage to create havoc elsewhere. This time was no exception.
The old bathroom look like this.....
Yep. I told you it was dated. I've had to live with it for 30 years!
The first problem was that the plumber couldn't start on the date we had agreed months ago, 14 January, but asked if it could be a week later. I always have to make sure Kay isn't working night shifts, when I arrange for workmen, because otherwise any noisy work during the day would render her sleepless. So far, so good, as she was not working nights if we shifted the dates forward by a week.
The next problem arose, when a day or so before the plumber said he couldn't start on the Monday 21st , as his last job had overrun, but would definitely start on Tuesday 22nd. As my job would take at least two weeks to complete, he was unable to complete the job by Friday 1st February as we had agreed, but it would run into a third week. Normally this would not be a problem, but on Friday 1st we were expecting a guest from Germany for the weekend - a young girl from Berlin, whom Kay had met on her travels in South America last year. They had become good friends and the girl wanted to visit us in London. I had hoped it would not be a problem as the bathroom work would be finished by then, but of course now it wouldn't be and the house would be in chaos for our guest's arrival. There was nothing to do but grin and bear it and accept the situation.
The first six days (Tuesday 22nd to Tuesday 29th) saw much banging and crashing. The old bathroom was ripped out and ended up in my front garden, new pipes were laid, plasterboard was sawn and hammered in (the dust from plasterboard is nothing short of several bags of flour being thrown around throughout the entire house despite doors to rooms being shut. I was even breathing it in!) Then came the plastering over the plasterboards, the painting of ceilings and the electrician arriving to do his bit. On the Tuesday afternoon, the young lad hosed down the front garden path, as rain had mixed the plasterboard dust out there into a gloopy mess, looking as if a lorry had dumped a load of porridge on the path. The plumber and his gofer lad then left me for the next three days (Wednesday 30th to Friday 1st) while the tiler came to do his bit.
The tiler got on with the job quietly and was finished by Friday lunchtime. I was pleased at that because it meant I had the whole afternoon to get the place a bit straight for the German girl's arrival that evening. (I had decamped to the guest room while the en suite bathroom was being done, but it meant I had to vacate the guest room and move back into my room, change bedding etc and move all my stuff out.) Things were going well and I was more or less organised, when I happened to go into the integral garage in the late afternoon to fetch something and that is when I discovered it.
The floor was sopping wet. We have an old bit of carpet on half of the garage floor (don't ask) and it was soaking up the water like a sponge. And on the carpet are three items of furniture belonging to my late mother which we had kept back for Kay for when she eventually gets a place of her own - one of them an antique bureau. All three pieces had their feet on the wet carpet slowly soaking up the moisture. I looked around and saw water pumping out of the hose. I should explain that the hose I keep in the front garden for watering plants out there is permanently attached to a tap in the garage. When I need the hose I turn the tap on and water the garden. Then I turn the tap off. Three days previously the young lad had used the hose, as I explained above, but had not turned the tap off afterwards. He had screwed the spout end in the garden shut and the water had backed up along the hose and was pouring out of the tap end in the garage. With a few hours to go before the German girl arrived, I managed to contact the plumber who flew over to my rescue, muttering about the lad under his breath. He helped me move the furniture to safety and the wet dustsheets covering said furniture ended up on radiators all round the house, as did our old drenched fabric frame tent which is the size of a small bungalow. Goodness knows what our German guest really thought, when she arrived and saw the things steaming on the radiators but she smiled a lot and accepted what we told her, probably thinking the English are as mad as a box of frogs.
Come the Monday, the lad was extremely apologetic having been given a right rollicking by the plumber and the final stages of work commenced. By Tuesday evening I was able to wave them a hearty goodbye and regain the house to myself. I'm sure you're dying to see the transformation, so without further ado, here are the after photos. I feel like a film star now, particularly with that big mirror. It might be another 30 years before I can face another makeover again, but for the time being I'm loving that new bathroom.