We recently had our bathroom stripped bare and refitted. Pink wallpaper became white tiles, the acrylic bath with a hole became a whole enamel bath. That sort of thing.
The company we had in to do the fitting presented us with two faces: Ray, the South African boss (or mere line manager, but I suspect they’re not that huge an operation) and Adam (or ‘Adamski’ as Ray said at one point), a Polish all-rounder in the game of bathroom fitting.
Things were progressing really well, and a nine day job was scheduled to be finished in six and a half. Adam had been very hard working, an amiable and cheery chap, but a little difficult to communicate with. His English was languishing somewhere south of Peter and Jane books. Ray provided telephone and in-person support for the more difficult exchanges.
On the morning of completion and pursuant to the advice of my father, I started the process of snagging in preparation for winding up the operation. One thing I wouldn’t have thought to do without the paternal advice was to check that the bath overflow worked. I filled the bath and kept the taps running. The overflow was working brilliantly; the water was hardly rising past it. With the test concluded, I headed down to the kitchen for breakfast.
As you will have predicted, that’s when I saw the drips from the ceiling. These were followed shortly afterwards by streams of water coming out from the window frames and pooling inside and outside the house.
There was a knock at the door: Adamski had arrived. I rushed to let him in and raced to think of how I could communicate the issue at hand. I hit on one of the few words he knew, "Problem!", and led him through to the kitchen. On seeing the water works he used one of the other words he knew, "Shit!", and raced upstairs to sort it out.
It seems that the overflow pipe had been loose and had simply detached itself from the bath. The water dribbled out the overflow, down the underside of the bath and into the floor, but it wasn’t a huge amount. The real problem was when I emptied the bath. The overflow pipe had flopped to the ground and was lying lower than the normal waste pipe did. The entire bath full of water had taken the easiest route out of the system and flowed out of the detached overflow pipe and onto the kitchen ceiling.
We were lucky that the flow took it into the wall, and it appears (several days after the event) that we’ve suffered no damage from the incident.
So now we have a new bathroom and an embarassed Pole from whom, to my thinking, we might be able to call in a favour in the future.