During my second year of university I lived in a huge, eight bedroom house which had been converted from an old nunnery in Battersea. This was a brilliant experience overall and many a good time was had. The building itself looked quite beautiful both on the outside as well on the inside. Situated atop a hill it afforded great views of the city and a back garden which was well-suited for parties and barbecues. The interior was equally impressive, with spacious, high ceilinged rooms, a grand wooden staircase, and a massive kitchen. Living there was an absolute pleasure, until winter came and the plumbing suddenly became very temperamental. Older houses unfortunately lack the more advanced plumbing technology found in modern buildings. Thus, there is a greater likelihood of problems occurring, some of which can be incredibly frustrating.
Unfortunately it was a particularly harsh winter in London that year. Ice and snow were prevalent from November all the way through to February. When it started to get cold my flat mates and I definitely felt it, since the ancient house also lacked modern double glazing. Single glazing doesn’t offer much in terms of insulation. We swiftly wacked on the heating since everyone was in agreement that it was necessary to do so. This made the house sufficiently warm and the house heated up surprisingly well for a place with such high ceilings. Unfortunately, one day the hot water virtually stopped working. A minute amount of heat was detectable but it wasn’t enough to classify the temperature of the water as anything other than cold. Suffice it to say, this made showering in the mornings an absolute nightmare.
Waking up for early morning lectures isn’t easy during winter, particularly if you can’t even look forward to a hot shower. My tactic was to simply grin and bear it and shower using cold water. This usually involved lathering up and then standing under the shower for as little time as possible, just enough to get clean. Some of my housemates resorted to going to the local gym before lectures and using the showers there instead. This problem persisted for a number of weeks due to the inefficiency of our landlord in finding a good plumber to sort out the issue. Looking back I wish we had simply hired a reliable Battersea plumber to come and sort out the problem in a swift and effective manner.
During this period we also experienced a strange lack of heating on the second floor. My bedroom happened to be upstairs and so for a fortnight I was forced to wrap up using multiple layers and make use of a portable electric heater in order to stay warm. The upstairs seemed to be plagued with problems in general. At one point the bathroom shower started to overflow causing water to leak through to the kitchen below. We sorted this problem out by using a whole lot of drain unblocker to clear out the shower drain allowing water to flow freely. Eventually, we managed to sort out all of the plumbing problems but this was only after enduring them for quite a while.
This stretch of rather uncomfortable habitation made me seriously appreciate the importance of good plumbing. It is one of those things that most of us take for granted until something goes wrong.