This morning I was up betimes; breakfasted, showered and pacing the flat despite the fact that I was working from home which is generally a good excuse to stay pyjamaed longer.
Steve the plumber was due. He said he’d be here between nine thirty and ten thirty. I found I couldn’t settle. My notes were ready to be added to; books were piled up on the floor; MasterB had been out, come in, played and taken himself off for a nap in a drawer beneath the bed.
At ten-twenty-four I called Steve. He was on his way. I know all plumbers say that, and sometimes they mean they are on their way but it will be via Lands End and Skara Brae, and if you’re lucky they’ll arrive a year next Tuesday, but Steve is a trustworthy sort of bloke who eschews that whistled intake of breath perfected by many a workman when he realises the person paying the bill is female; he even tells you sometimes you don’t need him for the job and gives you instructions over the ‘phone on what to do. He was recommended several years ago by the sadly missed cattery, and in turn I have recommended him to others. This may have been a mistake, as he has been too busy to fix my non-functioning water heater until today.
Anyway he arrived. I settled to work, sitting on the sitting room floor with my laptop. From time to time, Steve muttered something at the water heater. From time to time, I muttered something at my screen. The water from the tank drained away painfully slowly. Steve was a bit bored. He stopped muttering at the tank and started talking to me. We had a conversation about the cold homes of our childhoods, when chilblains were a painful feature of every winter, our bedrooms had linoleum floors, and having a bath was a weekly penance. Then Steve ate his sandwich and I headed for the shops. The water had stopped draining by the time I got home. Steve was on his hands and knees in front of the tank.
MasterB got up and did a double take at the overalled bottom in the hallway. I coaxed him into the sitting room, and he settled in his bed. Steve turned on the vacuum cleaner. MasterB woke up and stared anxiously towards the door. Once the noise had stopped, I gave him safe passage through the front door and he went into the garden.
Steve was here for hours. You pay plumbers by the hour. Each minute the tank took to darin ratched up the cost. Then there was the part he had ordered and collected which was about £70. I asked him to tell me the bill while I was sitting down. It was £300. Not cheap, but given the time he was here and the rates many plumbers charge, bearable.
And more importantly, I trust him. If the problem isn’t sorted, and I shan’t know until tomorrow as my water heats overnight, he’ll be back straightaway. That level of reliability brings a lot of peace of mind.