Monday, 2 February 2009

The Indoor Water Feature

There's only one water feature that I want and that's a duck pond with ducks on it. And geese. Preferably outside. So I was none to pleased to find a puddle in the kitchen this morning. I was pleased, though, that I was wearing my most absorbent socks.
'Before you start casting aspertions,' says Tybalt, 'it wasn't me.'
And I knew it wasn't Phoebe because we regularly do our pelvic floor exercises together to 'Queen's Greatest Hits' and our bladders are as watertight as a crocodile's backside.
I call up to Andy. 'We've got a puddle in the kitchen.'
'Was it your cat?' he called back.
'No,' I say.
'Was it mine?'
'Again, no.'
'So it's water then?'
'I imagine so,' I say.
A big sigh ensues followed by mutterings about 'that flippin' washing machine.'

We've lived in this house more than four years now and we've always had troubles with leaky washing machines. Not massive flooding, but the occasional dribble that causes much anxiety and a damp floor. The leaks generally occur on Sundays or Bank Holidays when calling a plumber would be cost prohibitive so we've become adept at mending leaks ourselves with anything from insulating tape to treacle. This particular leak had co-incided with a heavy snow fall. I go outside to release the hens from their Eglu whilst I consider the problem. Mrs Miggins stands in the doorway.
'What' s this?' she says, eyeing the ground suspiciously.
'It's snow. You've experienced snow before,' I say.
'Not this deep I haven't,' says Miggins. 'If I step into this I'll disappear up to my buttocks.'
'OUT YOU GO!' yells Mrs Poo who had been standing impatiently behind Miggins. She gives her a good hard shove and Miggins is flung unceremoniously into the drift. Poo, Pumphrey and Slocombe stampede over her, springboard style, thereby avoiding the snow and landing safely on the ground that is under the raincover and therefore snow-free. And then Pumphrey stampedes back over her again into the nest box due to the imminent arrival of an egg. Miggins gives me a look that says 'I told you so,' and goes into the greenhouse where she keeps her supply of dry long-johns.

Back in the kitchen Tybalt is standing by the washing machine with a Jack Russell terrier. The Jack Russell is wearing a flat cap. He's scratching his head and sucking breath in through his teeth.
'This is Nugent,' says Tybalt. 'He's my plumber.'
'You have a plumber?' I say.
'Well, I know I'm highly talented in many areas,' says Tybalt, 'but I think plumbing the jacuzzi into my bachelor pad is beyond even my capabilities.'
I'd been meaning to have words with Tybalt about his Jacuzzi plans. I've tolerated the arrival of the snooker table and the juke box, but Jacuzzis= more water problems.
Nugent has stopped sucking breath through his teeth and is now tutting.
'What do you reckon, Nuge?' says Tybalt.
'Floor'll 'ave t' come oop,' says Nugent. I look in dismay at my lovely and only recently laid tiled floor.
'Ist damp outside?' continues Nugent.
'Of course it's damp outside,' I snap. 'It's snowing.'
'Ah well, there's yer problem,' says Nugent. 'I reckons you've got an underground water table flooding problem. Flood plain here, is it?'
'No, of course it isn't,' I say. 'We're on a hill.'
'Well, y'say you're on a hill,' says Nugent. 'But are y' really?'
'Yes,' I say firmly, because we are. 'And I think the problem is the washing machine. I expect the inlet pipe has juggled itself loose again.'
Nugent laughs loudly. 'Oh, you ladies,' he says. 'Always comin' oop with simple answers t' complicated plumbing problems. ' He prods Tybalt in the ribs and tips him a manly wink. Tybalt gives a nervous laugh. I pick Mr Nugent up by his collar and dump him outside the front door into the snow.
'Not today, thank you,' I say, primly.
'Ere! Wot about my call out charge?' calls Nugent through the letterbox.
'Ha!' I say and stomp off back to the kitchen.
Andy has pulled the washing machine from its station beneath the workshop. Phoebe is already investigating.
'It's your inlet pipe,' she declares, emerging covered in cobwebs and dust and wiping her paws on one of my best tea-towels.
'Thought so,' I say, with an element of triumph in my voice.
'Pass the treacle,' says Phoebe.

No comments: