While the rest of the country battles with its own (infinitely more serious) water woes, I have my own little fountain of troubles here at Blended Towers. The £4,600 water bill, taken out of my account by Thames Water without so much as a whisper of warning, was the first intimation that something was Not Quite Right with our waterworks.
Well, a lovely team of water folk eventually turned up – three months after I had reported the leak – and sorted everything out. Though it wasn’t quite as simple as that, as they came in four separate visits. First, one lot had to dig up the floor of the garage so they could send a ‘mole’ down the hole to find the leak, then they gave up because the floor was too hard. The same lot came back on another day to start digging just outside the garage. Eureka, they found the leak pretty much straight away, without the mole (and metres away from the scene of their first bit of digging) and promptly sorted it out. But – and as far as I was concerned it was a reasonably sizeable But, with a capital letter and all – they left their assortment of holes, in my garage, outside the garage and on the street. ‘Oh, don’t worry, the infill team will be here in about an hour,’ they said, waving merrily. The infill team came the next day, but they were there only to put bits of rubble into the hole, they told me. ‘The concrete team will be along later,’ they said. The next day, the concreters did, indeed, arrive, and filled the outside holes with concrete. ‘All done now?’ I asked. ‘Nope, the tarmac team will be along this afternoon to finish off,’ I was assured. They showed up a few days later, and all finally seemed done and dusted. Until I went into the garage to find a bicycle pump. Oh dear. There was still a huge hole in the floor, from the first attempt to find the leak.
Now the usual response would be to ring the water board immediately, and get the four teams back pronto to start the incredibly laborious process of sorting out the hole and filling it with many different types of stuff during four separate visits. But I’m enjoying the peace and quiet too much. No one actually ever needs anything from the garage, do they?
Meanwhile, Thames Water have sent me another bill – for £4,700 this time. Thank goodness they haven’t just whipped it out of my account again, as if they had, the mortgage would have bounced, and the whole water/hole/garage thing would rapidly have become someone else’s problem. The workmen did leave me a Leak Allowance form, which I am not allowed to send off until two weeks after the leak was fixed. I’m not sure how this is going to work, given Thames Water’s urgent desire to bankrupt me.
At the rate we’re going, Thames Water will cut us off before I’m able to send my Leak Allowance form. We could soon be the only dry place in the UK.