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My Hall Looks Like This Now

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that two out of my three bathrooms are now back in working order. And as a wise man once said, two outta three ain’t bad.

The bad news, however, is that my hall looks like this now:


Which actually IS quite bad, really.

(Oh, and when I said two out of three bathrooms were working? That pile of earth you can see at the bottom right of the photo is blocking the door to the downstairs bathroom, so while it IS technically working, it’s no longer accessible. So… still just the one bathroom, then, but now it’s a DIFFERENT One Bathroom from the One Bathroom that was previously the only working bathroom in the house. ONE BATHROOM TO RULE THEM ALL, people. Are you following this? Because I’m only barely following it myself, and they’re my bathrooms, so…)

(That’s obviously the very least of our worries, though: one bathroom is plenty, and at least I don’t have to go down two flights of stairs to get to it now. No, all things considered, the bathroom situation is pretty good right now.)

As you can probably gather from all of this, the problem with the blocked drain turned out to be worse than we originally thought. Like, £600 worse. Hands up anyone who’s even remotely surprised to hear that everything that COULD go wrong with this DID go wrong? I’m going to assume no one has their hands up at this point: it’s always the way with us, isn’t it? I mean, I should probably know by now that when someone gives me a quote for something, I should just go ahead and assume it will take twice as long, and be twice as expensive, and, to cut a long story short, that’s exactly what happened yesterday. So now we’re onto Day 2 of what I’ve affectionately dubbed “Hall Hell”, and there’s a giant pile of earth inside my house.

Of course, we didn’t actually KNOW we were going to have to pay double the amount we’d been quoted until AFTER the hall had reached roughly the state you see above. The insurance company, meanwhile, had paid out only the amount of the original quote, which meant Terry got to spend a fun 45 minutes on the phone, trying to wrangle the extra cash out of them, while the workman who’d transformed our hallway into the Cracks of Doom (Because yes, ONE MAN did this, guys. ONE MAN!) stood by going, “I don’t even know if I’ll have time to come back and finish it tomorrow, to be honest…”

It was a tense time for everyone (Well, for Terry, anyway. I was at my parents’ house at the time, so I remained in blissful ignorance of the unfolding drama), but finally the insurance agreed to cough up the cash, and the day was saved. Not so much the hall, though, obviously: the workman wasn’t joking when he said he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to come back today, so at the time of writing, we’re still waiting to find out if we’ll have a hall, or still just a mound of earth, by the end of the day. Hey, remember when I said I was a neat freak? What you can’t see from this photo is that the mess isn’t confined to the hall, and has spread through the entire house – even the floor of the bedroom (two floors up), was coated in a film of dust, so you can imagine how relaxed I feel right now.

The worse thing about all of this is that the man who dug up the hall told us that, in his expert opinion, the blockage could only really have been done maliciously – probably by a disgruntled employee of the company who built the house. Apparently the sheer volume of concrete, plus the type of concrete it is, precludes it having been flushed by accident, so it’s likely that whoever did it knew it would cause serious problems at some point down the line. We can’t know this for sure, obviously, but it does make sense: the company who built our house actually went bust while they were working on the development (Which means we don’t have any recourse to them for compensation…), so the leading theory at the moment is that the builders were told they were being laid off, and did it as a type of “revenge” – albeit it ended up being “revenge” against me and Terry, rather than against their employer. I’d like to think no one would be THAT awful, but the man who came out to fix it said he’s cleared a lot of blocked drains in his time, and basically you’d have to be really, REALLY stupid to flush that  much concrete down a toilet. Thanks to my frequent run-ins with The Others, I know some people really ARE that stupid, but either way it’s kinda depressing to think that one person caused this, whether by stupidity or malice.

Anyway, we should know at some point today when they’re going to be able to come back and finish the job. Until then, I’m managing to resist the impulse to try and sweep the floor… but only just.

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  • Oh no! That’s horrendous. And that it was done maliciously. OMG. I would be in a straight up panic, and I really hope he comes back today.

    Fashion and Happy Things

    October 9, 2014
  • I’ve been following the story and it is horrible – I can’t even begin to think how I’d feel if it were me. Every time we go to do work in our house we seem to find something that has been badly done in the past but NOTHING like this. Really feel for you guys and hope you get it all sorted out soon without too much more stress.
    Sheena xx

    October 9, 2014
  • Stacy


    Wow, you do have all of the luck don’t you? Not only do you have this mess, you don’t know when it will be gone and have a good idea that it was deliberate.

    Sympathies, and I really hope that you get your house back soon! (And that the dust magically dissapears!)

    October 9, 2014
  • I like the espression of Rubin in the first picture! He’s so beautiful!
    Ok, seriously, I’m sorry for all these problem with your hall. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised that you found out that the cause was that someone threw concrete down the toilet. It’s sad but I have to say that I actually so a worker doing the same thing at my neighbour’s. (Someone would say “That’s Italy “and I must agree).
    I hope the problem will be fixed soon!

    October 9, 2014
  • TinaD


    Poor you. Double-poor Terry (because insurance companies are beastly to deal with.) And triple-poor Rubin, who I imagine is looking at the dirt pile thinking “this is going to be the biggest bone ever!” and is doomed to disappointment. We’ve had a lot of workmen through our house in the last couple of years; I find gin and hiding in the bedroom helps.

    (I don’t know what’s put me in mind of it, but are you planning to do that Terry-does-the-garden post soon?)

    October 9, 2014
  • What a nightmare! I really hope it all gets sorted for you soon. I’m a complete neat freak and hate it when there’s building work (so much dust!) so I feel your pain.

    October 9, 2014
  • Laura F.


    As a fellow homeowner, I sympathize. Perhaps you should just have a Porta Pottie delivered to the front yard and go full feral for the time being. I bet the neighbors would love it.

    I love that picture, though. Rubin looks…confused.

    October 9, 2014
  • oh, that’s bad, really bad. Stupid people can be so…well stupid…if it was intentional, which it probably was. {{sigh}} On the upside, the universe does seem to gift you good blog material….{sorry, I couldn’t resist.} Anyways, I do hope things get sorted out, cleaned up, and back to normal soon!

    October 9, 2014
  • Stacey


    It’s amazing how stupid stupid people can be.

    My development was built by at least two different construction companies. The first went bust after building the first half of the neighborhood. A second came in and finished the job, but towards the end was also going broke. This was all way before I moved in so I’ve only heard talk, but the talk is that the last two houses were built by a third company. Those are the only two houses in the neighborhood that don’t have some sort of weird plumbing/draining issues, so I believe that someone else built them.
    Apparently the previous owner of my house had to sink some serious money into fixing the plumbing from weird construction mistakes. I still don’t know exactly what was wrong, but supposedly it’s all fixed. My next door neighbor and *his* next door neighbor are now in the process of repairing THE ENTIRE PLUMBING SYSTEM. Every pipe in the whole house, for both houses. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it.
    We had a worker come out for a (unrelated) thing, and he had to go underneath the house. He comes back up and goes “Huh, I’ve never seen that before…” Which is always comforting. There’s a giant dome of concrete just piled up in the center of our crawl space. When talking about it with our neighbors, they were like “Yeah, it was from the builder. We have one too.” Another neighbor said their’s was around the perimeter of their crawl space, just a ‘hedge’ of concrete. The builder, and the workers, had extra concrete and (I guess?) didn’t know how to dispose of it so just dumped it under the houses. Some went to the trouble to make patterns with it. Problem is, with my neighbor (who has a concrete dome) they poured it over the drain, so her crawl space flooded. Of course the company is bust so there’s no way to sue. Luckily our’s is not blocking anything, it’s just weird.And probably hiding a body.

    October 9, 2014
    • Stacey


      Sorry for the whole wall of text, I didn’t mean to write so much!!

      October 9, 2014