All the same, I felt that sufficient time had passed for it to behove me to put my head over the tumultuous parapet and give you the topline on what has been happening lately. Perfume reviews, a Truffle winter special and a bathroom refurb report will follow, but right now I am in the midst of a particularly worrisome twist in that particular renovation saga. It is a bit of a spoiler alert to mention it now, but unfortunately, on the day that I put the finishing touches to the room - a few ornaments and pot plants with appropriately toned dark green foliage - I could no longer deny the fact that both the bath and shower were separately and jointly (joint possibly being an operative word!) leaking through the floor and into the kitchen below, causing a number of big damp patches at the top of one wall and all around the track lighting. Why, there's a good excuse not to bathe - it's an electrical hazard!
Additionally, last weekend 20+ longish cracks appeared out of nowhere on walls and ceilings all over the house, one or two the entire length of a room. It felt as though the place was haunted, for no sooner was my back turned when another one or several popped up! I spent a couple of dark nights of the soul googling the small print of my buildings insurance policy to find out the amount of the subsidence excess, and getting ballpark estimates for underpinning(!) the foundations in case the worst came to the worst. In the event, these particular cracks, though legion, leggy, unsightly, and downright alarming, only register as a Category 2 on the architectural equivalent of the Beaufort scale ('fine structural'), and it seems the house - though subtly shifting beneath me - may yet stand for some years to come. ;) I did half wonder whether Truffle may have precipitated the movement by persistently clawing at the dining room door every morning to be fed(!), but a friend who trained as a surveyor reckons the cracks are more likely to be linked to the many, varied, and violent kinds of weather we have been having lately.
So I have put my crack problem behind me (got to be careful how I phrase that, on several levels!). However, the unresolved matter - and associated horrible piquancy - of a brand new bathroom that was five months in the making leaking from multiple undiagnosed and mostly inaccessible sites, remains with me. So I may be liaising with my plumber - and possibly other plumbers! - on an ongoing basis until we can get to the bottom of everything. I have myself done a ton of forensic investigation: this has involved every kind of water volume/pressure, from jet spraying with the shower's own diverter to pouring from a watering can, squirting with a spray bottle designed to banish Truffle's arch enemy, the interloping Tootsie, and administering small amounts of water into the casing of the bath taps via a pipette. I have also isolated certain components from the water blast as a 'control' using a freezer bag and some gaffer tap. Ooh, 'gaffer tap'! Freudian slip...On the plus side, I have learnt an awful lot about the gubbins behind a mixer shower, including the plumbing meaning of the word 'escutcheon'.
My stress levels are compounded by the fact that I am entering a hellishly busy work phase, though I should not be sorry for that, in case some money has to be thrown at the problem one way or another...
Finally, hats off to Truffle for showing a great deal of empathy this week - I'd say 'a rock', but that way lies Princess Diana and that rum bodyguard chappy, Paul Burrell. I swear she (Truffle, not Diana) knows I am run ragged with it all. In the mornings she has taken to sitting on my neck for a bit like a furry comforter, and staged a dedicated vigil outside the bathroom door when the problem was first diagnosed. But that may just have been because she was dying to explore the airing cupboard where the action is all going on!