I had planned to write about Sylvia Townsend Warner's collected short stories today, but domestic upsets are proving to much of a distraction to do her justice, so I'm falling back on what's bothering me instead. If nothing else I'll feel a bit better for writing it down.
On Thursday both the bath tap (quickly fixed) and the kitchen drainage gave up in me. With no obvious local blockage in the pipes the plumber tried a drain cleaner. Which didn't work. I live in a flat so the next step was to approach the management company because access to communal areas might well be necessary, and it's not altogether clear who bears responsibility once the pipes leave my property.
On Friday they promised a plumber would be in touch, he was, on Saturday, to say that I probably didn't need a plumber but a drain specialist- but that they wouldn't be at work over the weekend (I was) so he'd pass my details on, on Monday. Why we couldn't have had this conversation on Friday beats me, but never mind. At that point it looked like my flat was the only one with a problem.
Saturday's plumber, who I've very much taken against, suggested that it might be an ice issue - which it could be for all I know - because I was on the ground floor and all my neighbors are higher up and therefore warmer. I'm not on the ground floor, there are another 7 flats on this level, it's been colder, but whatever. The agents happily pointed out that if it was just me I'd be paying all the bills.
Because misery loves company, and doesn't like having tradesmens bills for undisclosed sums hanging over her (if the tradesmen ever appear) it was a relief to discover that both next door and upstairs are suffering in the same way. Meanwhile upstairs efforts to unblock the drain started coming through my sink. A trouble shared will at least be an expense divided, and knowing it's not just he has taken the edge off the 'why does this always happen to Me' paranoia that was brewing.
It could be worse, the bathroom is fine, and plenty of people have offered to do a load of washing for me if necessary. Which doesn't stop it being inconvenient. I don't like dirty washing hanging around on the floor, I hate having to wash up in the bathroom sink (there's nowhere to put anything so everything needs to go straight back to the kitchen as it's washed - it takes ages), it changes what I feel I can cook (the less washing up the better) and it's surprising how hard it is to remember not to use the sink.
Everything from under the sink is all over the place as well against the probability that someone is going to want access to the pipes. My kitchen doesn't feel like mine, something I find very dispiriting. Hand washing is a pain too, and the amount of extra time being spent in normally simple chores eats away at reading time. The background stress of not knowing when it will be fixed isn't helping me sleep either.
After a bit of time on twitter you can bet I'm seeing this as a Brexit metaphor too. It doesn't take much of a disruption from the domestic norm to have a profound effect on your everyday life. Losing easy access to a washing machine is showing me that.