My dripping tap

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Broken Britain

I haven’t been able to regularly update the blog for a few days.

It all started in September with a dripping tap, I phoned up the Housing Association and they tried to fob me off saying taps are tenants’ responsible. Hold up I says, hold up, the tap is badly corroded it’s over 30 years old so it can’t be reseated and no amount of new tap washers will do it!

Begrudgingly they agreed to send a plumber. After a week he turned up, “yeah that tap’s had it” he said “I’ll change it”. Out come his spanners, under the sink he goes to turn the water off, a few expletives and off he goes outside to turn the stop cock off in the road. a nasty noise happens and in he comes “stop cocks had it I can’t turn the water off I’ll get the waterboard to come and replace the street stop cock” he says.

A week to ten days later, waterboard man turns up, says the plumber has sheared it and he will put in a job card 10 to 14 days he says; spends about 30 minutes outside our house writing on the pavement with blue paint.

In between time there happened a mains pipe water leak outside which saw a river flow along the road, around the corner and down the hill, the second time in three months- this is in an area that has water restrictions in summer on quite a few occasions.

Anyway I digress, it’s now November so I get onto the Housing Association, “what’s happening about my now permanently running tap” I says, he puts me on hold and after 10 minutes I realise he’s not coming back so I hung up!

Next day,this Thursday, blow me down a van turns up and they start digging a hole near the stop cock then BANG we’ve got a power cut! The power cable has been severed. Hole diggers scarper, electricity company turn up. But the Weller household has survival instincts, out comes the candles, torches, gas lantern, gas camping stove, batteries to stick in our tiny portable twenty five year old black and white portable tv, we’ve already filled up containers with water expecting the water to be turned off- we’re sorted.

After three hours sitting in the dark with candles burning, it doesn’t seem so romantic when it’s because of a power cut is it, the powers back on.

Number three son comes down and goes on the internet, now powers back on, after about 10 minutes he complains about not being able to get online, this is quite usual but being suspicious and always expecting the worse- the Weller family motto is ‘expect the worse and you’ll never be disappointed’- I pick up the phone to see if we’ve got a dialling tone, yes you’ve guessed it our phone line has been damaged.

It’s late Thursday night and I need to do some checks on house equipment first because if a phone engineer comes out and the fault is in the house he charges £180 plus VAT! Anyway nothing wrong with our equipment so Friday morning Mrs W goes out to use a phone box not only for the free phone but both of us can’t get a signal with our mobiles in the house unless we go to the top front corner of our house.

Anyway I digresss again, Mrs W phones BT as it’s the line outside, goes on this menu that menu another menu selecting this number that number then gives all our details goes on hold only to be told “you are a Post Office customer so phone them’, but it’s your line that’s faulty an irate Mrs W says. Doesn’t matter voice on phone replies.

The reason we are no longer with BT is because they started to charge us over £3 extra because we pay by cash then a couple of times we were late paying so they charged us for that meaning these extra charges were dearer than the call charges, so we went to Post Office for our phone.

So when Mrs W comes home and tells me the story I go up to the front top right hand corner of the house which is the only point we can get a mobile signal and I phone the Post Office.

We’ve been with 3 mobile phone company ever since they started because we always got a signal anywhere in our area, however a few weeks ago when Orange joined with T Mobile we started having problems. I obviously complained about this and was told 3 no longer shares Orange masts and there was a problem with the network. After a few weeks of not being able to use the phones I again complained and managed to get three free months which takes us up to when our latest contract ends.

So I’m phoning the Post Office, go on this menu that menu – click this number click that number then go on hold as they are experiencing a high volume of calls. Ten minutes later I actually speak to someone I can understand, how unusual is that mind you he was a ‘Geordie’. He takes my details and problem and says he will book an engineer to come round, if I haven’t heard anything by Saturday afternoon phone back. I’m a grumpy old git at the best of times so Saturday morning I realise even if they phone with a time they’re coming my phone won’t ring because I can’t get a signal, so I phone BT again this time although I went through the menus I actually got to speak to someone straight away.

I’m told Tuesday is the earliest they can come out, which I suppose isn’t too bad, but I asked if this is the soonest they can come, guess what he said- yes because it is BT engineers that will come out- cor blimey want a country!

I wonder when the plumber will come out again about my constantly running tap?

Welcome to the lunatic asylum called Britain!

By the way I’m bring you this tale of woe on my number two daughter’s lap top with an Orange network dongle I’ve borrowed to register a pay as you go T mobile phone sim card.


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