All change

water pipesMy routine is about to be severely disrupted for months and, for once, I cannot lay the blame at my beloved’s door. The builders are moving into the whole block for the foreseeable future. On the one hand I’m delighted that the work is finally taking place, I had assumed it was imminent when we first moved into the flat some eight years ago but the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow in France. In a long-running battle with the insurers of the original builders we’ve finally received the seven-figure settlement and all our water pipes are going to be replaced.

These pipes are both internal and external to the building and are accessed through four small traps which will be made much larger. This will be so much more practical but the workmen are going to need to punch through walls, tiling and so much more. Having met the gentleman in charge of carrying out the massive undertaking last week, I now have a far greater appreciation of the work involved and the mess it’ll make. I’ll be spending this week getting ready.

We’ll have no water for an entire month on week-days from 08:00 – 17:00. This means I’ll need to get up early and get prepared. Buckets of water for flushing toilets, full kettles, coffee pots and sinks, lots of baby wipes, plus the washing-machine and dish-washer are only going to be working out-of-hours. The consequences are dire if one forgets! My post-ride shower will have to be taken down at the pool. However, the biggest change will be remembering that I can’t wander round the flat other than fully clothed as I won’t know when a workman is going to drop by – they have their own key so that they can come and go as necessary. It’s that or I’ll be chained to the flat 08:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 17:00.  For a woman who spends many hours in lycra or nightwear, this will take some getting used to. Tracksuits might well be the ideal solution.

I’m also having to pack up as much stuff as possible so that the workmen and their pipework can move around the flat as easily as possible. While I’m limiting their access to essential rooms only, you can bet your bottom dollar that the dust won’t feel quite so restrained and I’m not looking forward to the big clean-up in October when they move onto the next block. It’s also going to be noisy for a long time, so I’ll have to work wearing my beloved’s noise cancelling headphones, luckily the phone lights up when there’s an in-coming call!

The two exterior traps are in storage cupboards, crammed full of stuff, on the terrace. Access to the terrace will be via the laundry/bike room. The bikes will have to be housed elsewhere, probably split between the guest bedroom and bathroom and the stuff in the cupboards will be neatly piled up on the terrace.

There are two internal traps one in the corridor outside the en-suite bathroom, a few steps from the laundry and right outside the office. The second one is in my beloved’s toilet. This one will be accessed via my kitchen/breakfast room. This way I can avoid them traipsing through the lounge/dining room. The dust will, of course, have no such compunction.

The work is scheduled to take a month and I won’t be around at all for the second fortnight. I’m undecided whether this is a curse or blessing – only time will tell.

Monday postscript: Everything is ready for the assault of the workman who, having commandeered  a large number of parking spaces, are now in situ and making a bit of noise. The water is off, but I’m prepared with plenty of jugs, kettles and  buckets.

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