As someone famous used to say, I wanna tell you a story….
A couple of days ago, I might have got a bit chippy with Mike when I found my warmest jumper (which mysteriously had been in the laundry for about 4 weeks) damp on the piano in the library (how ‘Cluedo’ does that sound?!) We were both puzzled but however it had arrived neatly folded on the piano was nothing to the fact that it was damp, and had thus raised the polish on the piano lid, and it’s not like we have so much nice furniture that we can afford to trash items without due cause.
Anyway, roll on a few days, and we noticed as we tried to make up one of the bedrooms in the Manor for visitors that the bed was wet. Mike went into the attic to investigate and found a cupboard on the floor above this room which was wet inside, and presumed there was a leak in the roof above this, which did not seem unreasonable given that rain was lashing down at the time.
Today we have come to a new realisation. We spent the best part of the entire working day laying tiles in the restaurant, as we are now beginning to get quite twitchy about being ready to open in a little over two weeks. Well, not so much getting twitchy as that the twitchy-ness is really ramping up… so by 4pm we were both very tired. I had enjoyed a brief tutorial about lunchtime on Facebook from Shaun, so was not perhaps at my most alert. I was also very wet as I had been using the tile cutter in which the cutter wheel is bathed in water, which then bathed me in water every time I tried to check exactly where the cut line was. So, in a slight fug, I wended my weary way up the grand staircase and past this particular room. Fortunately, we normally leave the door to this room propped open as that feeds light onto the landing during the day so as I walked past, I became aware of the sound of running water. I peered into the room and noticed water was falling from several spots in the ceiling, but I guess it is a sign of our times (or just how wet I was) that I continued past to our bedroom in order to change before investigating further. When I returned, I noticed the mattress on the bed was completely soaked; several cascades of water were falling onto the carpet; and water was raining over the TV and dvd player on the windowsill. So I did what any sane woman would do under the circumstances – I went downstairs and called for Mike.
Mike went to have a look. He followed his previous pattern of checking on the floor above and noticed that the same cupboard was wet, again. But this time, as the external rain was more of a drizzle than a downpour, he checked more thoroughly. He noticed a couple of pipes each with a valve (exhibit A below),
but at the same moment he realised that both times we had found a leak in this room, Gary (who is currently installing a new boiler to supplement our existing provision) had been working on the pipework. Mike called for Gary who identified the values as air release valves for the central heating system, which were commonly installed in the 1970’s at the high points of such systems, to release any air trapped in the pipes. As they discussed them, they noticed water was definitely leaking from these into the cupboard. It turns out that the narrow pipes beyond the valves should have been vented externally to the building all those years ago so that any water flushed out with the rising air was safely expelled to the outside world, but instead these tubes have spent the last 40 years coiled into a neat roll and left in the cupboard.
Having botched a quick fix, they both returned to the bedroom in question to find a section of the ceiling on the floor.
Oh joy, oh rapture. Mind you, we had been puzzled when viewing the house that part of that room’s ceiling had clearly been repaired in the past and had the distinct appearance of a repair after a bath has flooded, but we couldn’t work out how that was possible given there was no bath above that room. Now we know!
And when Mike checked the rest of the house, he noticed a small but significant dribble from the light fitting in the library, which was dripping onto books left on top of the piano, so now we also know how the jumper ruined the polish on the piano. This is one of those days when working in admin at UEA seems like ampler alternative!
Oh, and in case you are still interested, here is a photo of the patch test, each colour having been painted twice now. Any opinions welcome.