Real life

Real life

14 April 2017

11:00 PM

14 April 2017

11:00 PM

Some people get into the choosing of tap fittings. I am not a person who gets into the choosing of tap fittings. After a day looking at tap fittings, I don’t so much feel like I’m choosing tap fittings as the tap fittings are choosing me.

It is imperative I do this quickly. A short sharp tap choice. Bang. Belgravia Lever Traditional. Or possibly Ultra Chrome Beaumont. Or Ultra Chrome Luxury Beaumont for only £10 more. Damn it!

One thing I do know. I’m not having anything with ‘Quest’ in the title. I don’t want a tap that thinks it’s on a Quest. That’s allowing a tap way too much self-importance. Nor do I want a ‘waterfall’ bath or sink fitting. Or a ‘zest’ shower. It’s too tiresome. I want water to come at me in a bog standard way.

The bog had better be standard too. I don’t want any funny business.

The last time I went to Japan, I had to avoid the jet wash and dry. Morally speaking, there is no excuse for it. Damn the impudence of a loo that thinks it can take such liberties. Yes, loos and showers are tricky. They’ve got ahead of themselves. Too clever for their own good.

Last time I went to the Plumb Center with Tony the plumber, I ended up with a £650 fixed rainfall shower that was meant to have a detachable head — to wash the dog off, for example. But it turned out to have a hose that you had to pull in and out of a chrome ring. It made a sickening whirring sound and was apt to fly about like a demented snake. It did my head in and meant I could very rarely face washing the dog off.

Why are these appliances not designed so we can do with them what we want to do? When I asked Tony why the detachable shower wouldn’t detach, he shook his head and said: ‘It doesn’t want to detach, my dear.’ Well, so long as it’s happy.

Oh, I should explain. I’m looking at taps because I’ve got a date for completion. The house sale will go through in the next few weeks.


It appears that the Good Lord, who must get thoroughly sick of complicated demands, decided to intervene in my year-long conveyancing nightmare after I begged him to help by saying: ‘I’m really, really sorry to bother you but if you could just sort this I’ll leave you alone for a bit.’

In a double act of God whammy, my broker revealed that my mortgage offer was about to expire in three weeks, and the person at the top of the chain threatened to pull out because he had had a better offer: ‘Complete in three weeks or the deal’s off,’ he said.

My agent pulled all her fingers out and duly persuaded my buyer, in about ten minutes flat, that she needed to exchange.

‘Quick! Start ordering floor tiles!’ a voice inside my head screamed.

I am now in a new kind of hell, bouncing between Topps Tiles and a place called Bathrooms at Source in Wandsworth. Will God intervene again to save me from this torment? Or will he simply tell me I’ve had my lot?

I want a round wash basin and a normal bath, not a bath for two people to cavort in, I tell him. And some nice beige floor tiles. Not chav-compliant ones. Not Kardashianised ones. Nothing shiny, black or glittery.

‘Yeah?’ says God. ‘Well, tell that to the hand cos the face ain’t listening.’

Stefano has been drafted in. The builder boyfriend is not happy. But as I pointed out, he cannot stop work and do my new house up on his own. That way madness lies. I need a team. The cottage is in a state and needs an instant facelift, a new bathroom and kitchen immediately.

Stefano tells me to start shopping for materials. Make lists. Look at catalogues.

I tell him I have a photo of a friend’s bathroom I like. The friend is very wealthy and famous. I was there for luncheon and when I went to the ‘small’ guest loo I was so impressed I took a picture.

Like a fat old woman holding up a magazine photo of Jennifer Aniston in the hairdressers, I text the picture to Stefano and say, ‘I want that.’

‘Those are Travertine,’ says Stefano. They are £12 a tile, or thousands to cover the walls and floor.

I don’t care. After all this waiting, I’m gonna have me some of that real good expensive limestone deposited by mineral hot springs, just like them rich folks have.

(I must stop imagining I live in a trailer park in the deep south of America. I’m not quite there yet. That’s the next move.)

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