Last Friday the roof exploded. It was my day off (the last I would get for another six days) and I had planned to sleep in before going to look at flats in a relaxing kind of way. This was not to be. I was woken by Kathryn at 7:30am when she informed me of the fact that water was leaking from the ceiling outside our room. It went something like this…
Kathryn: Dave, you better get up, there’s water leaking from the roof.
Kathryn: While engaged in the usual frantic busy-ness that females begin the day with – I have put some buckets down but I think you better get up. It’s also leaking upstairs.
Kathryn: I have to go to work now but you should get up and call Gill.
David: Struggling to comprehend this strange turn of events – ???
Kathryn: The number’s in my phone, I really have to go, I’ll be late.
David: Getting out of bed – S**t.
I looked at the hall. Water was now running out of the light fitting. I rang Gill, who said she would come right away. I called Thames Water, who told me to switch off the water. I tried to do this but had no idea where the tap was. (Oh yeah, Malcolm was at this stage blissfully unaware in New York.) I eventually found the mains tap in the basement and turned on all the other taps in the house to drain the tank. Water was by now flowing freely out of several light sockets, and I had already had to change a bucket and two saucepans.
I eventually got in touch with a plumber who would come as soon as he could.
It was at this stage that water started to drip from the dining room ceiling on the ground floor. Not surprised by this I positioned the wok strategically, remembering the immortal words of Clint Eastwood: “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome”.
When the light shorted out in the dining room I decided to have some toast while I waited for the plumber (the water had by now slowed in the upper levels, so I thought the worst was over. Ha!)
As I was adjusting a saucepan on the table under a new leak I heard a groaning sound. My instincts only just saved me as I leapt across the room just as a large piece of the ceiling collapsed onto the table, showering the four walls (and my piece of toast, dammit) with mud and water.
A torrent fell from the roof.
I think I said something like, “By jove, that was a close one, what?”
I rang Mary who lives next door who came over with some more buckets. Eventually the flood slowed to a trickle and Gill arrived. Soon after, the plumber arrived and replaced the faulty valve that had unleashed such watery destruction on my day off.
Kathryn arrived home shortly after to help clean up, but we had done all we could so we went shopping at Sainsbury’s.
As some of you may know, I used to work at Coles, so I know a little more about the workings of supermarkets than most, and I could tell you a few stories. But believe me when I say this: supermarkets in Adelaide are a seriously classy operation compared to London. Some things to appreciate:
Being greeted: You may think you don’t like it when they say “Hi, how are you today?”, but trust me, it is better than being completely ignored.
Having your bags packed: You will miss this when it just does not happen. Ever. And all your groceries are piling up at the end of a conveyer belt as you struggle to keep up, stuffing bread into plastic bags you can’t open.
Friendly staff: The staff in Adelaide may say nasty things about customers when they are not in earshot but when dealing with customers they usually do a genuinely good job. The staff at New Cross Sainsbury’s are rude and unfriendly. They suck.
We still have not found a place to call our own. But I live in hope. We have a first week of December deadline and I am positive we will meet it.
Here’s a tip: Do it in July. Oxford Street is hell. Trust me, I work there. It is only November and it is already a war zone. We were there this afternoon and only just made it back alive. I caught a swift and obviously intentional elbow to the guts by some *&£$&^ while fighting my way to Debenhams.
If you must go there, I would suggest body armour and if you want to make reasonably good time some offensive weaponry is a must, say, brass knuckles or a good stout club.
On a lighter note, the lights (sorry, no pun intended, honestly) have been switched on in Regent, Oxford and Bond Streets. The Bond Street ones are the nicest. They are blue and look quite beautiful. Oxford Street has some pretty ones as well. The best time to appreciate them is at 3am when there are comparatively few people on the streets. Photos to come…