Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 05/10/23

Out Of Sink

I've had better days than I had this Monday just gone.

But before I tell you about that, I have to describe to you what happened at the end of last week.

It was Thursday night. I'd just done the washing up and pulled the plug on the sink.

After you've lived somewhere for any period of time, you get accustomed to certain sounds; they become so familiar that when something goes wrong it registers with you immediately. In this case, it was the sound of the dirty water going down the pipe. And that is how I knew that something was amiss. More than that, I felt pretty sure that I knew exactly what had happened, and that opening the door of the cupboard under the sink and witnessing the inundation therein was merely a confirmation of my educated guess.

This has happened at least twice before, where the joint at the back of the u-trap has failed and the effluent has gushed out into the cupboard. The last occasion had been caused by a strong wind throwing the green bin against the pipe on the outside of the house wall (which was not grouted/mortared/sealed into the brickwork when it was installed over forty years ago, meaning one could waggle it quite substantially), causing it to break the joint coming out of the u-bend. But there had been no such meteorological event this time, so the ultimate cause remained - and remains - a mystery.

By this point, there was no point in putting a bowl under the leak because all the water had exited. This at least prevented my doing what I very nearly did the last time; namely, collecting the water in the bowl and pouring it away...down the sink (I stopped myself just in time).

It being late in the evening, I couldn't phone the Council to report the problem, so I went to their webform and reported it that way. There was one of those dreaded drop-down menus, of the all too common sort where none of the options really fits what you want to say. I could have selected 'flood', but thought that that would be a tad melodramatic, so I chose another option and submitted my request.

At 0900 on Friday morning, I received a text from said Council. This told me that they had logged my problem and would send someone up to carry out the repair...

...on Friday, 27th October.

I did check to see if they'd simply put the wrong month on it, but it was 29th September already, so it couldn't have been that.

I called the repairs line. On the first effort, I was kept on hold for fifteen minutes before being cut off. Second time around, I did get through to someone, who told me that 'the system' had classified my repair as 'Category 3', and so was not counted as being an emergency. Or even urgent. I pointed out that I could scarcely manage without a kitchen sink for a month. This elicited the question, "Couldn't you put a bowl under it?", to which I pointed out that the bowl I had was too small, and that if it were big enough for the job, I wouldn't be able to fit it under the trap anyway.

As if doing me a great favour, she then said that she'd put me on hold so that she could have a word with her colleague who handled the calendar for the Council's plumbers to see if they could get someone up there the next week. I thought that I'd gone down the rabbit hole at this point. On the previous occasions this problem had arisen, they'd sent someone up the same day, because they had correctly classified it as at least 'urgent'.

She put me on hold...and cut me off.

Attempt Number Three saw me get through to someone else, who looked at it and told me that the person I had first spoken to was going to call me back. Which she did a few minutes later, but merely to confirm what she had told me the first time.

At which point, I told her to leave it as it stood, and that I would get someone in who would do the job in a timely fashion.

I went into my search engine of choice with the words 'emergency', 'plumber' and 'Wrexham' and found a number of possibilities. I made my choice and phoned him, but it went to voicemail suggesting I texted him instead, which is what I did. After a degree of to-ing and fro-ing by text and phone call, he arranged to come out on Saturday morning. The fact that it was late in the afternoon when he did arrive was not any fault of his; he had had to go to Chester to pick up a part for another job, and had the misfortune of it being race day at the Roodee, so he got snarled up in the resultant horse-related traffic. Then, when he came back to our lovely 'city', he got caught in the masses leaving the latest game at our world-famous Hollywood football club. On top of that, the part he had got for my job was the wrong size due to my u-trap being of non-standard dimensions (I did warn him that it was a council house). But by a little after 1830hrs Saturday, it was done and dusted - and the problem of the loose-fitting pipe also resolved by a combination of a lot of silicone sealant and my wedging a conveniently-shaped small stone in the gap around it on the outside wall - and I happily paid him.

(If you're in the Wrexham and Chester area and need a job doing, I can warmly recommend Adams Emergency Plumbing (and he doesn't do only emergencies!)).

I then had two days worth of washing-up to do, so truly there is no rose without a thorn. Still, it meant that I no longer had a tottering pile of crockery on the draining board.

I am now trying to find the procedure whereby I can get the Council to reimburse me for the expense, because it is clearly absurd that such a repair could be regarded as neither an emergency nor urgent, and in my view they have failed in their contractual duty to me as a tenant. If they won't pay up, I may be left with no other option than to withhold my rent for a week or two to compensate.

So, on to Monday...

...Actually, this piece is long enough as it is, and there's a lot to relate about Monday, so I'll leave that until tomorrow.an arrow to click on to take you to a follow-up item