All 2 entries tagged Ceiling

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June 07, 2005

Hold on

Follow-up to Well from [TBA]

The quest for a new ceiling continues after the break.

So I went to Holland which was great fun. Unfortunately I slip in full sentences of Dutch while I speak instead of just the odd word. Strangely enough no one really notices, which makes me wonder if people actually listen to me, or if my Dutch sounds like English. Don't.

But yes, I got back eventually and saw the same mess in the bedroom next to mine, call it rubbish room, as when I left. Apparently someone had come to have a look at it and decided to come back a few days later. Granted, it was bank holiday weekend, so he came on Tuesday to have fun making the hole bigger (so he could easily fit in new weak boarding that will fall down with the smallest amount of pressure).

Mentioned Tuesday was 8 days after the ceiling fell down. It might have been Wednesday. But well. While the contractor was enjoying his work, my housemate decided to do her dishes using the hot water tap out of which only cold water flows. Though stupid, I'm glad she did, as the hot water tank holding the cold water started leaking and the contractor was the first to join our side against the poor maintenance and called the agency to get the plumbers to fix it again.

Obviously the plumbers need 9 days notice so we were glad it only took them one day to arrive. Wait – where I said Tuesday it was Wednesday as I'm positive they arrived Thursday. Apparently, there was a puncture in the hot water tank. Or maybe two. Yeah we'll come back tomorrow or next week with a new tank. "Great, see you next week then", as indeed, they needed to order a new tank (basically a bucket with a hole for the pipe, but apparently not so common plumber material).

Monday morning, 11am. 2 Weeks after ceiling collapsed. Plumbers arrive: shouts of joy and excitement. A new water tank is installed and I ask them if we should worry about any more spillage when the hot water is in, but no, there's a lid on this tank so it should be fine. Joy oh joy in excitement I decide to do my laundry. Luckily I stay in the room for lunch as when the machine starts draining water all of it ends up on the kitchen floor. Turns out lovely plumbers forget to re-attach the pipe. Fortunately, we were planning to mop the floor this week anyway so I guess it was a sign that it needed to be done!

Slightly obviously, the washing machine asked for hot water, and it was actually (piping) hot this time. Sounds great, as we could marvel at the workings of the new hot water tank. But no. It held on for about half an hour and then the greatness of the hot water and air stuck in our pipes broke its resistance and yes, water started spilling in a concert of three buckets.

The plumber has been called again, and probably as I type they're working on it, though I doubt everything will be fine. Hopefully the material will be dry tomorrow so that the contractor can finally finish his job, though that will surely take till Friday. And then we can live again!

For those actually worried, the contractor assured us that no further bits of ceiling would fall down, despite a few cracks. Also, we have contacted the Union, but as work is on its way, there is nothing we can really do. Though we will send a letter showing our concern and pointing them at promises they've made at the start of the tenancy. Unfortunately, my digital camera is being repaired (I know that's a good thing but it means I don't have it right now) and my housemate refuses to take a picture of the rubbish room or let me take a picture, so this entry is again just a big collection of words. More pictures next time!

May 25, 2005


What can you do? I'm tired but need to blog. Don't know why. Not having exams to complain about. Going home tomorrow so should have more interesting stuff to tell next week. Got amazing new CDs but am not allowed to talk about them (it's like having seen Star Wars but downloaded from DC++ not that I know how - honestly!). So let me tell you a story about off campus student housing.

I live in a lovely house on Canley that makes me ill every other week. It only makes me ill because we can't open the windows as they have locks we can't remove. And because it gets dusty and none of us really feels like using the vacuum cleaner. And (until recently) because it's either freezing or it's boiling hot.

But recently someone showed us where the thermostat is and told us how to use it. Amazing technology! But then one day I came home and the hot water tap wasn't running up to speed. Consequence: washing up takes 5x as long and lazy students as we are the dishes piled up. Time to call the letting agency.

Lovely people, but communication wise a bit… bureaucratic. We're not allowed to call the plumbers ourselves, but they can do it for us. So we call the agency they call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they don't. So we call the agency who call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they do. They fix one of 2 things we need them to do so we ask them if they could please fix the other as well. Nope. Agency didn't tell them to. "So let's say I call the agency now and you leave but then they call your boss and you'll be back in half an hour?" "If your lucky, yes". Great. So we do. And they come back the next day. Yay! Everything is working! Or not.

We try out our heating and the whole house seems to fall apart. Luckily that didn't happen for another month. Apparently some way lots of air was trapped in the pipes and made a racket. We call agency agency tells us it's normal with our heating system and it happened in the last tenancy as well. Sure. So we use it as an extra method to wake up in the morning (but we fail).

April comes and goes.

Had a great weekend just now, and I come home and my lovely housemates await me with a smile. Poor me didn't recognize the smile of despair: a massive leakage (not as in pouring down everywhere, but just a continuous stream of water through a small hole in the ceiling) occurred in one of our bedrooms. Hot water. Why is that hot water? Why do those pipes go into the loft? Why isn't there any light upstairs? So we call the plumber's emergency line but get the answering machine. We realize we have to call the agency first, but they decided to take a break too. It was already past eleven but who knew what could happen so we decide to call for the help of our amazing neighbour who can fix anything.

After being ashamed of waking up the whole family and every other living creature in the house, amazing neighbour comes, sees, and… can't help us. He amazingly climbed into the loft and tells us the hot water tank's overflow isn't working and that there's about 2 inches of water waiting to go down, so we might have to stay up for a while. Great. At least we know what and where it is. Fortunately, the leakage calls it a day so we don't have to refresh the buckets every hour. And we go to sleep.

9:00AM Phone rings. "Hello Thorwald, it's the agency. You called last night. Do you still need help?" "Woo-aaa-elllll there is still 2 inches of water waiting to pour down, we don't know if we can use the hot water, and we still have a power cut, so yeah would be nice if someone could just pop in and say hi." "OK then we'll have someone over in an hour" Back to bed.

10:00AM Doorbell rings. Yay! Housemate is up so she can open. I sleep in while I hear everything going on in the room next to me and in the loft above me. A crack appears over the width of my bedroom. Time to wake up. Housemate relieved as she doesn't understand any other English than the Queen's, or oddly enough, mine. So yeah, plumber/electrician/fixitall guy explains that when my (other) housemate turned on the light in his room, it caused a power cut as the wire was touching the hot water pipe which had melted the safety stuff around it. Apparently must have happened ages ago but now it decided to fail on us completely. Oh and that cut blew a hole in the hot water pipe. Ah! Hence the water! It all makes sense.

Lovely fixing guys fix everything and drill holes to drain the water and soon the hot water is working again and the light can shine safely and we're all happy. "So see you later!" They say, and a loud bad noise comes from the bedroom. Turns out they stay for a while to clean up the mess. Also, they don't have to use the small loft trapdoor to get up there anymore. There's a new 6sq ft whole in the ceiling of the 2nd bedroom. Amazingly, no one got hurt, only some clothes got dirt spat on them, and nothing got damaged. Well, apart from the ceiling.

So we call the agency and tell them what happened. Kind of. Agency guy comes in an hour later expecting to see some minor water damage. "Ooh – that hole… That wasn't there before was it?" Sometimes you've seen a red on a person's face you never knew existed. Nice guy though, but he can't promise swift repair. "But the hot water pipes are fixed?" "Yes… and the light still works. Well. It would if it would still be hanging there."

Nice guy tells us the next morning that some contractor guy will arrive some day to assess the costs and then some day later when all the beams are dry (which will take a while in a house where windows cannot be opened) the ceiling will be redone. Oh and probably all of it will have to be redone. Yay! New ceiling without cracks! Which means you'll have to move all your stuff… Great.

There's still more going on. Also, I need to decide on whether this whole thing is exciting, or funny, or terrible. First, I'm going home though. If trying to avoid studying isn't exhausting enough, try landlord bureaucracy!

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