So it turned out that the shower hose was actually broken. The inner tube thingy has come adrift, so I took the bath taps apart and after a quick foray to Wickes, have now installed a new hose. The shower head was pretty revolting too, but since they weren’t prepared to sell me one of those without the whole ensemble (£84), I womanfully chipped away the worst of the limescale, squirted it with whatever chemicals were to hand and attacked it with a small brush for good measure. The hose is now rather too long – the shortest they did was 1.5m, but it all seems to work fine again.
The trip to Wickes was made rather more alarmingly urgent by the discovery that something had been at the cake in the bread bin (which I always tend to leave open as it’s a bit stiff). It wasn’t a cake that anyone else was going to eat and was something of an experiment in testing the effectiveness of the preservatives. About half had been consumed before it was forgotten and left skulking at the back, unnoticed for a couple of months. When I eventually discover it again, curiosity about actual shelf life (triggered by Hestia’s Kevin) compelled me to leave it there to see what would happen. It’s been consigned to the bin now, but showed no signs of mould or decay despite being open and showing a best before date of April. Scary.
Anyway, a quick foray around the side of the house (where nobody apart from the foxes ventures) revealed that there are now two massive holes in the air vent cover, so I have a horrible feeling something that is not paying rent has moved in with us. I’d like to know what happened to the brick I’d placed in front of the air vent after last time though. I can only suppose that the foxes, which jip and jowl and shag in a very hooliganish fashion every night, have taken to pinching any loose bricks, no doubt to lob them through the windows of nearby empty office buildings.
So, the new clay air bricks from Wickes are on standby (you wouldn’t believe how much the reproduction period cast iron ones cost!), along with some instant mix repairing mortar. The rat trap (effective for mice too) is now set and as soon as there is evidence that the new lodger has checked out (permanently), I’ll be adding bricklaying to my plumbing skills. A few areas where the guttering has failed and the mortar is suffering could do with repointing. Though, I may try to persuade DH to take to role of brickie.