Yesterday was noisy at times. There is a special quality to the sound of "obras y reformas" in Spanish blocks of flats. It has a tendency to reverberate through the building. Often there is the high pitched squeal of tile cutters. Yesterday it was mostly a lot of banging, outside our door!!!
Earlier this year, while we were in England, our landlady's daughter, Marisela, who does all the communicating between us, got in touch to say that the "comunidad", the residents' association, wanted access to our flat. Lower flats were suffering from damp and they were trying to find out where it came from. We assured her that it was unlikely to be from our flat as we always turned off the water at the mains when we left the place empty for a longish period. But we gave her permission to go in with the plumbers and check. This she did and, as expected, nothing untoward was found. She refused permission for the plumbers to investigate further by making holes in the bathroom wall!!!
On Friday, while I was in England babysitting, Phil had a visit from the plumbers. They wanted to look under the sink as there was a problem with a drainage pipe for the whole building that takes waste water away from the flats. After examination, they asked him to contact Marisela and ask her to get in touch with them. This we duly did and it was arranged that yesterday Marisela would meet here with the plumbers of the "comunidad" and with one from her insurance company.
The "comunidad" plumbers made a fair-sized hole in the wall outside our flat. Hence all the banging. It seems that there has been a leak in the drainpipe inside that wall. For some reason, in order to complete that repair they needed to replace the outlet pipe that went from our kitchen. It was quite interesting to watch the negotiations going on between Marisela and the plumber: she just about managing to hold her temper in check and remain calm and polite, he blandly denying any knowledge of previous things that had gone on regarding plumbing in the building.
At one point, Marisela and I went down to the flat below to see the damage caused. The young woman who lives there with her husband and small baby is at her wits' end. Her kitchen cupboard doors are swollen from all the wastewater from higher floors leaking into her kitchen. That is not the only problem. One of her bathrooms, the main bathroom, is out of use because her landlord gave permission for a hole to be made in the wall during the earlier investigation and, several months on, the hole is still there. She was in the process of packing up, ready to give notice if her landlord did not get it sorted pronto quick. Marisela's denial of permission to make holes in our bathroom wall during the original investigations was clearly justified!
Such are the joys of flat living.
Another joy is the junk mail. By the entrance is a notice, "¡NO ACEPTAMOS PUBLICIDAD!". It's all very well saying you don't accept junk mail but if you leave open the outer door, the one allowing access to the letter boxes, then junk mail you will get.
When we first viewed this flat, that door was always locked but for at least two years the lock has been broken and many residents just leave it propped open. Clearly they do not regard it as a problem; the inner door, giving proper access to the building itself, remains locked so all is well, apparently.
And so the letter boxes are stuffed with advertising for pizza delivery services, furniture sales, supermarket promotions and almost anything under the sun. We rarely receive any other mail but we duly remove the illegal, unwanted, unasked-for "PUBLICIDAD" and put it all in the paper recycling bin. Not so all residents. There are some who simply drop it on the floor for others to pick up. We do so and I have seen other good citizens do the same.
Among the junk yesterday we found a small paper rectangle offering the services of MAESTRO OUSSOU. This "great astrologer, scientist, spiritualist and trustworthy African healer" will solve just about every problem imaginable. Getting your lost love back. Attracting the person you love. Impotence. Doing well in your business, your job, your exams. (Presumably a bit of magic is better than working and studying hard!) Keeping your job. Removing the evil eye and other curses. The list goes on and on. Maestro Oussou promises to resolve desperate cases quickly; in fact he guarantees to do so within seven days.
And to think that I have been throwing such amazing stuff into the paper recycling bin!
I wonder if he deals with the noise of "obras y reformas".