To confound matters, the issue got progressively worse over the days and weeks that followed; often the shower would continue running for something like five minutes before clicking off, which was a bit annoying because I shower quite often (when your sense of humour is as dirty as mine you need to find some way of staying clean). At one point out of sheer fury I tried punching the shower unit in the knob which, surprisingly, actually rectified the matter for a couple of days. Like the Borg, however, it subsequently adapted to my fists of fury, and I had to resort to wedging the shower head under the bath mat to prevent it from spraying all over the bathroom while I patted myself dry and toddled off to do something more exciting. Oh, and did I mention that while the knob was in the off position and the shower was still running it would do so at scorching hot temperatures? My bathroom got well steamy.
So I put up with this for … well, look, I'd like to say a couple of weeks, but I'm actually really quite lazy so it was more like a couple of months, before deciding that I really needed to call a plumber to sort it out. This revelation hit me while I was 'enjoying' a bath (and I use that term loosely because I always find the concept of a bath is better than the actual experience of having one) and staring up at the manky old shower head having gotten bored of watching fluff lazily drift out of my belly button.
That being the case I dug out an old invoice from the plumbers I called out a couple of years back to fix something to do with my boiler or something (I don't know what these things are), and gave them a ring because they were good and efficient and resolved the problem. A lovely lady emailed me back the next day, and booked me in for Wednesday.
I don't know about you, but the mere notion of getting a plumber in just makes me think of awful seventies porn with big moustaches, lame jokes about wrenches, and - oops! - burst pipes. And while it's recently been pointed out to me that a significant proportion of my readers would consider this at worst a welcome distraction, and at best marriage material, the notion isn't quite so appealing to me. Although that said, I am sitting here writing this while amusing myself by rocking back and forth in a chair that's making slightly pervy squeaking sounds, so, y'know, each to their own.
So this morning at around half 10 this guy turns up. I show him the bathroom, and the errant behaviour of the shower unit, which in contrast to how these things usually play out when a professional comes to look at them actually did the whole not-turning-off thing, and he says "yeah, we ain't gonna get parts for THAT." I'm actually quite pleased at this turn of events because quite frankly regardless of whether it turns on or off the thing is lilac in colour which makes it stand out rather horrifically ever since I painted the entire room white, and would look even more out of place if I follow through with an idea I've had about painting half the room lime green (don't ask).
That being the case I say "yay!" and we look through some catalogues for new showers, which is initially confusing because he keeps saying "bar mixers" which I hear as "bar mitzvahs" and at least twice I say "but I'm not Jewish."
Any-hoo, we eventually select a nice chrome BAR MIXER, and then he announces that he needs to pop up into my loft to do something with my water tank (which I pray is not poo or bash one out into it like some of those horror stories you read about in the newspapers), and it is at this point that PLUMBING EMERGENCY NUMBER ONE kicks in.
Back just before I bought Sparky Towers, y'see, I had a survey done on the house - this being before the time of HIPS (that's Home Information Packs rather than the actual joints - I've not owned it that far back in human evolution). One of the things that came up - aside from a peculiar fascination that the surveyor had with limescale around the rim of the toilet – was that the wood underneath the water tank had at some point gotten damp and REALLY SHOULD BE replaced. But me being me, I moved in and quickly did nothing about it.
Having owned the house well for well over five years, it may come as a surprise to you to find that I've never actually ventured up into the loft until today, when plumber chappy said he'd really rather like to show me something up there and it seemed like I didn't really have much say in the matter and my excuse that I don't really like ladders wouldn't hold much water (unlike the bath while I'm waiting for the shower to turn off). So I follow him up the ladder, half expecting to find a decomposing body, or a wasps' nest, or a family of Albanian asylum seekers cowering in the corner. What I was not expecting, however, was a massive lump of wood under the water tank that had bowed waaaaaaay more than you'd imagine wood could possibly bow without snapping in two - so much so that instead of expressing something akin to shock, I look at the plumber and say "holy shit, is that even possible!? Look at it bend - it looks like Dawn French sat on it!" Which was, I'm guessing, not quite the reaction he was expecting.
After getting over this remarkable sight, I then realise that he's suggesting it's probably wise that I let him fix this, although the only things going through my mind by this point are the fact that this is a) going to cost a bit more than I'd anticipated, and b) the loft would be a rather awesome chill-out room if I popped a few beanbags, a lava lamp, and perhaps a teasmade up there. Eventually I snap back to the point at hand and agree that, yes, I've somehow gotten away with not having done anything about it for five years so I probably really should do something about it now instead of waiting for it to crash through the ceiling and kill me while I'm enjoying the delights of my new shower for the first time.
On a side note, as I descend the ladder, I notice that idiot girl who used to own my house actually left a Christmas tree in the loft, along with a plastic Halloween pumpkin with a scary face on it that I am going to have to go back up to retrieve and subsequently smash to smithereens because I genuinely think it looks like the sort of thing that would come to life and murder me in my sleep now that I know it's up there.
Anyway. Plumber dude ended up being round here for most of the day and did a brilliant job. I now have a water tank that's sitting on a massive expanse of well-hard, decidedly non-saggy wood, and a sparkly new chrome shower thingy that looks a bit like a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica, although I'm not allowed to use it for 24 hours because he used some silicon stuff to plug some holes where the old shower used to be and that needs to dry. Unfortunately, since he pointed this out to me I just want to go into the bathroom and touch it, which would be bad as we all know how that turned out the last time this sort of thing happened. The next 20-odd hours are going to be VERY DIFFICULT.