I’ll just put my hand here for a little leverage, and… oh
I was naked, bent on an awkward angle…
I was cleaning some mould off the ceiling and had to stand on the blue box to reach the corner. I was a little nervous about putting my whole weight on the box, having never done so before, so I put my hand out to steady myself on the sink.
There was movement — something gave. I quickly put my foot back down on the ground. The box was OK. Then the gritty sound of sand hitting the floor came from my right. I looked, the sink wobbled, something gave again and a chunk of wall fell onto the floor. The sink was wobbling precariously. The only thing supporting it was the plastic U bend in the drain. The bolts had pulled out of the wall — well, more like the wall had given way around the bolts, and because the water pipes have flexible connectors, the sink was unsupported.
I was naked. (Don’t you always clean your bathroom naked, just before getting into the shower?)
I was naked, bent on an awkward angle because I was holding the sink. I couldn’t let go without the drain pipe breaking. I couldn’t unscrew the drain and put it on the floor because the hot and cold water couplings were still connected. And the hot and cold water couplings couldn’t support the sink because they are flexible couplings. I reached around and turned off the hot water valve using its little tap. The cold water valve didn’t have a little tap — it needed a screwdriver. I didn’t have a screwdriver — I was naked. I couldn’t get a screwdriver without letting the sink go and breaking the pipe.
The mould and mildew remover is only meant to be on the surface for five minutes or it may cause damage. And I think they’re talking about tiles. Anything could be happening to the painted ceiling.
My eyes were beginning to sting from the vapour coming from the mould and mildew remover — I could feel my nose hair curling.
I looked around for help.
· Towels — no use, this is not the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
· Towel rail — no use, bolted to the wall
· Bottles of soap and shampoo — useless, they’re bottles of soap and shampoo
· Toilet rolls — I could build a tower of toilet rolls under the sink to support it: damn, only two
· The drawers! — The plastic Muji drawers on wheels that live on top of the blue box! If I just support the sink with my hip I can stretch out and open open the third draw… insert my arm into the drawers like the the prong on a forklift and… lift… and put down so I can remove the bottles of shampoo from the top before they fall down… lift again… turn… and place.
I pushed the Muji drawers under the sink and opened the second drawer — it slid out at the perfect height to wedge under the tiny lip where the drain pipe joins the sink. The sink and drawers locked into place. I ran down the hall and returned with a screwdriver and some spanners. Turn off the little in-line valves with the screwdrivers. Damn, 20mm spanner is too small. Return with multigrips, remove the water connectors — oh, they turn the other way. Undo the U-bend by hand. Gently rest sink on the floor. Clean mould and mildew remover off the ceiling using water from the shower. Retire to the shower while I work out what to do.
Emerge from shower.
Call work and tell them that I will be in for my 2pm conference call, and probably not before.
Write a blog entry about it — thus destroying the slowly building tension generated in the previous post.
I would tell you how I plan to fix it, but that would be getting ahead of myself.
Postscript 1: Don’t worry I have fixed it — about two minutes before Mrs Albion called asking me to come and rescue her from some East End badlands. She alighted at the wrong DLR stop after dismissing her driver at the airport so that she could could catch the DLR then walk home.
Postscript 2: The next day I discovered water under the sink. The U bend was leaking from each end — the sink side and the drain pipe side. So I unscrewed all the couplings, took them through to the kitchen, cleaned the seals with a tooth brush and put it all together again. Now it really is fixed, but the installation is not ideal. The U bend should not be stretched to its full length like that — it should be bent so that it has no real strain on it.
© Damian Clarke, 2019. First published on the Our Albion blog, 16 October 2006.