Mamma Mia, here I go again ... on the phone to Ikea

Adopting a Geordie accent yet again – “Day six hundred and eleventy-nine in the kitchenless house, and a strange air akin to what could be described as ‘Blitz Spirit’ has descended.

The housemates are now resigned to missing or broken IKEA kitchen parts, which has become a regular occurrence. Every day, they report a missing part to the IKEA helpline. They now burst into floods of tears when the ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia’ plays, as this is Ikea’s ‘on hold’ song. This experience has ruined that song for the whole household, forever.”

A flooded kitchen floor didn’t help, but it certainly helped Mr E find a stop cock (which he had been unable to locate for two days) in a heartbeat when the chips were down. It did seem rather improbable that we didn’t have a stop cock, and now we know that we do. Every day’s a school day, as they say. It was just covered by an inch of muck and a layer of gravel.

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Why? Because it just was. Graham and Joan who lived here before us has lived through the war. Graham had been a paratroop officer at Pegasus Bridge. A bit of gravel over the stop cock access was no biggie to them.

The upside of the flood is that another huge chunk of the manky beige Flotex carpet (remember Flotex? That 70s love child of a union between vinyl and carpet?) Is now in the yard. Yay! The uneven, drab, grey concrete floor that has been left behind is far more attractive than the wretched Flotex.

At last, the worktop re-delivery date came and the lorry arrived and ... no worktop. A few flustered phone calls from the lorry driver and it was discovered our worktop had indeed been delivered ... to a house in Melrose. And they had a delivery out near Berwick to do next. So off they went to deliver, then pass our house to go back to Melrose, collect our worktop, and bring it back to us. Groan.

So, a day later than planned, our utility worktop was gingerly cut to shape and the sink popped in. Proudly, the tap was fixed in place. Could it be we were only a few seconds and a bit of push-fit plumbing away from having actual, real-live water coursing through the pipes into our utility again at last? What, no more traipsing to the downstairs bathroom for a kettle of water?

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No, as it turned out. The push-fit plumbing wouldn’t push or fit on to our pipes. Awwww naaaawww! So close and yet so far!

A phone call later The Fantastic Elliott who does all our plumbing was on the way.

He connected up the sink and was also able to move some pipes which would have stopped some units in the kitchen fitting snugly to the wall. Job done.

And so, for the first time in quite a while, we were able to turn on the tap in the utility and marvel at the miracle of clean water piped into our home. The Young Mistress stood there, flicking it on and off, eyes wide in wonderment, like a child who has just had a standpipe installed in their remote Third World village by a charity.

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I sincerely hope that as the utility is now finished (hopefully) and the last units go into the kitchen proper, that you won’t have to tune in next week for Act Three.

And just as I type this, we discover that the super-duper fridge which has a cabinet door fitted to the front of it so it is ‘hidden’, has come without two tiny hinges which are supposed to hold said cabinet door in place. Mamma Mia, here I go again ...

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