Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

I’ll do anything to get a decent plumber


The plumbers come and go, but mainly go, and I am now so desperate for a bath that I will do anything for a man carrying a pipe wrench.

If only I had more Botox in my face and my highlights done, I found myself thinking, as we sat at the kitchen table one night rowing about the seemingly impossible problem of trying to get tradesmen who are also farmers on EU subsidies.

Most plumbers walk into our crumbling country house, look horrified and tell us we’re mad

The bathrooms in this old Georgian pile are so cranky they might as well not be there. In fact, it would be better if they weren’t. The heating and plumbing is a death trap. We found an old log burner in a back snug that was venting up a chimney stack passing through the main bathroom and when the builder boyfriend took the stud wall out he found a mass of smouldering black timber, half on fire, half dripping in damp, with a tangle of electrical wires wrapped around it for good measure.

Evidently, the previous owner waited so many years for a plumber that he kept taking matters into his own hands. He probably never did succeed in persuading one, because there is a sweet spot here
relating to a very precise sum of money and size of job, whereby the thing is worth a fellow devoting to it just such time and tax allowance as will not interfere with his agricultural hand-outs.

Added to which, the Irish very sensibly do not like old houses. They prefer a nice concrete bungalow with uPVC windows, and easy to wipe down plastic railings out front. When you first see these dwellings you regard them as blots on the landscape.

Pounded by enough wind and rain, however, you start longing for an ugly modern bungalow that holds the heat, and brings in the boiler and solar panel subsidies, which are almost as good as the farming ones.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in