It’s been quite a busy time recently for “Mr Complaints” as my wife affectionately calls me. Personally I prefer Victor Meldrew, but there’s no accounting for taste. I guess this moniker is a result of having far too much time on my hands to do things like complain – I prefer to call it follow up to try and affect change…
A good example of this would be my two published letters to the Abergavenny Chronicle which both had pleasing outcomes.
The first was when my Freelander tyre got ruined by raised ironworks in the road without any warning notices en route to the local “tip” where I got a cheque from the developers in full compensation.
The second was a rather nicely worded sarcastic piece about the lack of activity in terms of the new Morrison’s supermarket years overdue after promises by the CEO of Monmouthshire County Council that it was imminent. The groundworks and steelworks are now nicely progressed…
So yesterday we’ve had three bits of good news, the first concerning James who seemed to have a good half day work trial at a local business near Llanddewi Skirrid. This was brokered by our daughter in law Emily from London, so I can’t claim any input (or complaint) on this one, apart from the fact that I helped navigate James to the farm while he drove!
The next good news was a call from the Nationwide that our recent travel insurance claim would be settled in full despite numerous delays in processing and me chasing. This annual insurance cover is the one that comes free with the Nationwide FlexAccount and I have to say I’m rather pleased with the result – although the cheque could still get “lost in the post” of course!
Third and last (but not least) was the news from David Wilson homes that the final groundworks to finish the kiddies playground in the central “courtyard” of homes and the roads surrounding it will be started early next week and be completed in three. In the absence of any information after ten days of inactivity I got a text from Andrew Potter the regional director who sorted out my expansion tank cylinder problems previously…
Result – I don’t believe it! Which explains why I always say “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”!
Last week we had two VIP visitors to Wales, namely Helen & Denis, mother and father of VIP daughter Emily, who’s soon going to be the bride of Alex our eldest son. We’d met them briefly before only once at Alex & Emily’s house in London so here was a chance with them booking for a week an annexe of a converted barn just outside Abergavenny to get to know them better before the big day and so it proved, only not quite in the way envisaged!
The plan was to visit them in the barn late Monday morning which went without a hitch. Helen had cooked a lovely meal for the four of us and we relaxed swapping family stories and drinking some wine. Feeling relaxed we agreed to go out for a meal together on Wednesday at Prezzo‘s in Abergavenny, as their menu had a good selection of gluten free meals for Denis and vegetarian for Helen.
Alas this was not to be as blissfully unaware a problem had been mounting in James’ bedroom at the top of the house and as Debbie went into Emma’s bedroom to feed Hugo (her hamster) at around 6pm on Tuesday night she noticed water pouring down from the ceiling just above the window. In a panic she raced downstairs and I then raced upstairs convinced it was a leaking central heating pipe hidden somewhere above in James’ room. It certainly wasn’t coming from his radiator nor the Velux window though from initial inspection.
Fortunately David Wilson homes come with a 5 year guarantee for such emergencies so I called their out of hours hotline. Eventually a Dyno-Rod contract plumber arrived about 11.30pm as they were so busy dealing with other emergencies. The young chap however looked totally bemused by what he found and he decided against ripping out walls to investigate where the leaking “pipe” was and in retrospect we’re really grateful he didn’t. Fortunately the “flood” by then had turned into more of a trickle and Debbie’s deft arrangement of bowls and towels was catching most of the dripping from Emma’s ceiling, so exhausted we fell into bed for a restless night’s sleep.
Next morning yours truly got up early and walked across to Chris’ site office who manages the estate and he got straight onto their in-house plumber who knew the layout of pipes for the “Moorcroft” designed house we live in. I also got a call from the normal customer care team even before they supposedly opened at 9am, to see if the emergency called out plumber the night before had fixed the leak, so I updated them on what Chris was doing as a result.
A sense of deja vu came again though with the arrival of this second plumber who again told us he didn’t thing it was a heating or mains water leak and so Chris came over for further investigation and they discovered that the carpet below the Velux window was absolutely sodden just above the point where it had penetrated into Emma’s room below. Trouble was there was no pipe in the vicinity so suspicion turned to the Velux window itself despite there being no obvious water ingress through it.
We took the decision to cancel our lunch out with Helen and Denis who completely understood our predicament. Chris took the decision to call in the roofing company in Bridgend and two hours later we had two experts clambering around outside our three storey high roof with rather precarious looking ladders, I could hardly look.
After investigating for a number of hours they couldn’t find anything major wrong so just fixed the tiles in place even more securely and left just as the rain restarted. Sadly this hadn’t fixed it and overnight despite Debbie using the Vax machine to dry out James’ carpet when we got up Thursday morning the carpet was again soaking and the water dripping further into Emma’s bedroom.
Fortunately the roofers had left their business card with me the night before in case of further problems and a quick call to them saw three roofers despatched to Llanfoist tout suite! On arrival ladders went up, the “third man” working from inside James’ room and tiles now being stripped off all round the “quad” Velux windows where many hours later the culprit, a cracked piece of lead flashing surrounding the windows was finally discovered. Chris decided to order a whole new flashing kit for arrival Monday and the roofers made a temporary fix just in time for a deluge of further rain.
Earlier that day an industrial dehumidifier has been manhandled up to James’ bedroom and switched on started to suck the room dry including floor panels and carpet. The temporary fix plugged the leak and we awoke Friday morning to find the two bedrooms dry and no further water ingress thank goodness! We got in touch with Helen and Denis who were going back home on Saturday after a rather rainy & overcast week’s holiday and invited them in for a coffee and to see the drama for themselves en route…
Debbie & I can only hope and pray that everything on Monday goes smoothly on the roof and that by the end of next week or so the decorators will have put everything back as good as new! Fortunately apart from the carpet in James room and Emma’s ceiling and wall nothing really is damaged apart from our pride!
The chaps arrived early to try and miss the rain. They have the new flashing kit and are hard at work replacing the old surround with it but it’s a long job and it’s cold and wet…