Building my vocabulary

Room thermostat

In the spirit of believing that every experience, even a bad one, provides ‘material’ for a writer, I’ve been reflecting on the enhancement to my vocabulary provided by the domestic upheaval I endured last year.

It’s too tedious to go through all of the details; suffice to say it all started when I detected water under the tiled floor of my bathroom.  When I couldn’t locate the source I called in a plumber who brought his mate; neither of them had English as their first language.

They checked in all the places I’d already checked, found no leak and started lifting the tiles off the floor.

They satisfied themselves that the water wasn’t coming up through the concrete floor, so it must have been coming from above, because  ‘Water, she travels.’

When I checked on them next there were four holes ‘punched’ through the bathroom wall.  The water ‘ingress’ was coming from one of the flats above.

Over the next three days, waiting for the building management to help,  I watched as water ebbed and flowed across the bare concrete floor, running up and down stairs knocking on my neighbours’ doors to check if they were doing something to make the water flow.

It turned out there was a leak in one of the ‘waste down-flow pipes’ two floors above, so whenever anyone used any one of three bathrooms the ‘waste’ ended up on my floor.  The ‘intramural fibreglass insulating material had acted as a filter’.

Believe me, you never want to hear the phrase ‘faecal matter’ in any context.

Coincidentally there were builders in the flat immediately above mine, so they became involved in the ‘diagnostics’ and discussions; builders do love a good old theorising session.

There was one priceless occasion when there was a collection of 5 men in the bathroom: 1 Brit, 1 Italian, 1 Kosovan, 1 Pole and 1 Turk.  I watched from outside as they all pointed up towards the ceiling guessing which path the water, she had chosen.

Fixing the offending crack in the pipe involved the destruction of the bathroom in the flat three floors up.

I decided to run away to Wellspring House while the repairs to my bathroom were completed.

While I was away there was another ‘major water ingress’.  In this case the water, she had found that the easiest path to travel was underneath the wooden floor and out under my front door to soak into the carpet in the common hallway.

The floor was so ‘swollen and spongy’ that it had to be replaced.  Because it had been originally laid as a ‘single run’ with no ‘intermediate thresholds’ the entire floor had to be done, including the ‘scotia’.

While the floor was being replaced the central heating thermostat was cracked.  As soon as I touched it, of course, ‘it dropped to bits’.

I tried to describe it over the phone to the repair company, but the controller asked me to email her a photo (see above!).  Just a ‘standard room stat’ she said.

‘Isn’t that what I’d said?’  Clearly not.

And now, because of an entirely unrelated problem of cracks in the walls (I know, you’re now wondering why I live here) I am the proud possessor of three ‘tell-tales’, screwed to the walls of my living room.

A surveyor comes to visit every month to ‘see if there has been any movement’.  Only when he is satisfied that the walls have ‘stabilised’ can they be repaired.  (I’ll have my ‘fingers crossed’ for my new floor when that finally happens.)

When I was getting my insurance claim sorted out I made the mistake of using the word ‘flood’ to describe the inundation of water.  In insurance speak a flood is something entirely different, …….. and not covered.

Now ‘ingress’ flows off my tongue without a second thought.

Leave a comment


  1. Lydia LeRoy-Williams

     /  January 21, 2011

    Hello Miss Rowena,

    I wanted to say hello and as someone who had the pleasure to meet you at Wellspring, I’m sorry for the ‘ingress’ , but would I have met you otherwise?

    I also wanted to tell you that I start my day with your posts. I have been greatly enjoying your blog! Thank you for starting it and I do hope you’re well.

    Much love,


    • Hey Lovely Lydia, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. It wouldn’t have been the same without you at Wellspring. Well met, indeed! Rx


Do let me know what you think.......

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: