Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cracked ceilings and fractured patience

It's one of those beautiful, clear, cold, winter days today.

Perfect for getting your tar stained boots on, hooking up your safety harness and climbing onto my roof and bloody well fixing the damn thing!

Yesterday was a similarly nice day. I would have liked to go for a walk or maybe meet my mum in Kensington for tea and cake. She's here for the masters tennis in the Albert Hall and to see me, of course.

I didn't meet her, not because I am a crap son, I'm not, really. I stayed in all day waiting for Andrei the builder! At least I think he's a builder, I have yet to see him do any building. At the moment I think he's more of a bullshitter than a builder.

Why do I need the dubious services of the elusive Andrei?

I came home from college on Wednesday with the intention of getting the house ready for my mum's arrival on Thursday. I didn't have much to do, it was pretty clean, the dishes were all done and the recycling, about a million empty wine bottles and beer cans, was concealed in it's special blue bin outside.

All I had to do was strip the bed covers off the bed in my flatmate's room and wash them. Luckily, she's away on holiday so I was intending to sleep on the spare mattress in her room.

But I can't sleep in her room because, as I discovered when I went up to her nice attic conversion room, the ceiling had cracked open, like a hazel nut, and water was pouring in like the world's least tranquil waterfall.

Poor Fumie's bed was directly under the flood and was soaked right through the duvet, the mattress, the base and onto the floor!

I stayed, calm, moved her bed, washed and dried the covers set the mattress and duvet near the radiator to dry, turned the heat up and phoned the landlord, who ignored my call.

And continued to ignore me until midday the next day, despite the increasingly frantic messages I was leaving on both her work and mobile phones.

I convinced her that the ceiling caving in was, in fact, an emergency and she called Andrei to the rescue.

He turned up with a mate at about 5pm, swore for a couple of minutes in, I think, an eastern European language, poked at the ceiling, climbed out the window and onto the roof.

After this expert assessment he came back in and promised he would be back tomorrow, provided it wasn't raining, to start the 'big job' of fixing the roof.

He didn't come.

Eventually he promised me he would be here this morning between 8 and 9am. I called him at 10am to see where he was. My man will be there in half an hour said he.

It's now 11.15am, still no sign.

Now I am faced with the decision. Do I keep badgering him relentlessly? This is not in my nature, I am rubbish at complaining and am always unfailingly polite when I should be shouting and raving.

Or do I just accept that there is nothing I can do, go into town, meet my mum and take her to Leicester square to see the Xmas lights?

The property management company in charge of my place are called Hi-Dra, I think.

Their contact, Abi, will definitely not be working this weekend so if Andrei messes me around all day again, like he did yesterday, I can't even complain until Monday.

Not that it would do any good anyway.

We had no hot water for an entire week not so long ago and Andrei was in charge of organising someone to fix that too.

Absolutely gutted! There was, just now, a van parked outside with Slavek General Building services written on the side. Listing roofing and loft conversion as two areas of expertise. They're here!

But alas, they were only running into the corner shop next door to buy cans of coke and Mars bars to sustain them as they work, probably efficiently and speedily on someone else' house.

It's now 11.30.

I called Andrei again, just now.

I am starting to crack just a bit, my computer is in front of the window and I have been checking every couple of minutes for any signs of roofer's vans.

He claimed 'his man' had been waiting outside for 7 minutes, 7 minutes! And had buggered off!!

I lost my famous cool, my voice rose and octave or two, making me sound like an angry baboon and he has now claimed he will be here 'straight away'.

I am going to have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit and regain my composure.

The sun sets, this time in December, at approximately 3.45pm.

Time is ticking.