March 10, 2010

So the plumber came today at ‘back of eight’* and spent a happy and productive morning taking the radiators off, sluicing them out with a hose, refilling them and (unusually) checking that the heating still worked afterwards. So now we have hot radiators from top to bottom! Naturally, today was the first day when we could actually contemplate the thought of one day being able to turn the heating off, spring having unexpectedly sprung.

I also took advantage of the fine weather to assemble my first real cloche, not made out of recycled drinks bottles. This feels dangerously like the sort of gardening paraphenalia a proper gardener – the kind who raises vegetables instead of murdering them – might own. It’s a slippery slope, and who knows where it will end…

* 8:20, apparently. I was once at a conference where my impenetrably Scottish colleague arranged to meet up with fellow conferees in the pub at ‘back of seven’ and was completely unable to convey to anyone else what he meant by this concept. Apparently, the only real translation of ‘back of x’ is to say ‘back of x’ again, but s-l-o-w-l-y and c-l-e-a-r-l-y for the benefit of any Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians or English people listening. Fortunately, the entire conference retired more or less permanently to the pub all evening anyway, so no harm was done

Small Outbreak of Common Sense, Nobody Hurt

October 29, 2008

So, last week the plumber came to look at one of the sources of damp in our cottage, the leaking shower (the other one is basically the rest of Scotland, and there’s not much even a plumber can do about that). He found that fixing it would involve removing and reseating the bath, which in turn would mean a new frame for the bath and the whole thing being retiled. Obviously more than a man and a can of silicone sealant could do in a day. He rang his boss, the boss rang the agent, the boss rang back: go for it. Ah but, said the plumber, wouldn’t it be best to round up a joiner and a tiler first, before ripping everything apart and rendering the bathroom unusable? Good point, says the boss. Because, as anyone who’s ever tried to build an extension knows, getting all the tradesmen you need in one place at one time is something akin to lining up all the planets, only not quite as predictable.

Anyway, as of rather earlier than we expected this morning, we have a plumber and a joiner in conjunction, mirabile dictu. They are making banging noises as we speak. And, showerless, we are off to Huttonian’s where – he confidently expects – all of his tradesmen will be in place and finishing off his extension. As I’m fairly certain there’s only one joiner in the whole of Scotland, I think his confidence may be misplaced…

It is Never a Good Sign…

October 23, 2008

… when the plumber comes in from the bathroom asking for air freshener.