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Leak of the Week

Would you like a biscuit dear?

This wasn't such a big leak, it just made a right big mess. It was a Friday afternoon and all I had to do was replace a fibre washer on a ball valve in a loft. It couldn't have been easier. It was a bungalow, there was a loft ladder, a light, everything. Up I went, the tank was right next to the trap, easy. Well I don't know what happened, I'm sure I never touched anything, but a 3ft x 2ft piece of ceiling just disappeared. It landed in the pristine lounge below me, taking with it all the bitty insulation some people have sprayed into their lofts. There were bits everywhere, on the carpet, on the suite, the antique chess set etc. Fortunately, the door to the lounge was closed, but I had a birds eye view of the hallway and the lounge.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" came a voice from the bottom of the ladder.

My eyes flicked from the old lady to the mess. Old lady, mess. Old lady, mess. Mess.

"Yes please", I said . (just get back in the kitchen will you and don't come out)

Right, think. I've got at least three minutes to sort this out. But hang on, it's not my fault, I didn't do anything, it just fell off. Of course it's your fault, it was fine before you got here, look at it now.

"Would you like a biscuit?"

Jesus Christ she's back

"Yes, I'd love one" (now go away, no not in there, that's right, back in the kitchen)

I slumped against a beam. Perhaps I could get downstairs, tidy everything up really quickly and then at least there's only a hole in the ceiling. Better still, I could do the job, then just make sure she doesn't go in the front room till I've gone, and then say `What hole` when she rings me.

I can't do that, that's an awful thing to do.

I reached a decision. I fixed the leaking washer and went down the ladder to face the music. I tried to break the news gently by telling her that the ceiling was soaking wet from the leak and could only have been hanging on by a thread etc. To be honest, she took it really well, if a little bit quietly. By now I had convinced myself that it was entirely the ceilings fault, and picked up a piece of plasterboard to demonstrate how crumbly it was.

Typical, the piece I picked up was bone dry and I had great difficulty snapping it in two. It looked like I had simply put both feet through the ceiling and was now making pathetic excuses up.

Oh dear, now what's the name of your insurance company?

Greg Slater

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