I figured it would be a good idea to use the facilities in the factory before heading home on the company bus. As I came through the Kang Xing Yuan entrance, I could see the lights on in our apartment, and as I climbed the 64 steps I could hear their voices and work noises.
I entered our apartment, and no one even noticed. They were all in the bathroom. The washing machine was in the middle of the main room, along with everything else out of the bathroom cupboard, off the shelves, towel-rails, hooks. I wandered hungrily into the kitchen - I'm pretty hungry by 7.30pm - but work was continuing in there too. I grabbed the kettle and a soup packet and found a spare power point in the main room to plug in and make myself a cup-a-soup.
Around 9.30pm they emerged, smiling, out of the bathroom, replacing the washing machine but leaving me to do the rest. I wandered in to admire their handiwork.
This is what the little man I had seen squatting in the bath for the last two hours had been doing:
Not pretty, but we hope it works. Apparently they worked out that the pipe coming out of the hot water system and into the wall had sprung a leak, and we have been filling the wall with hot water for several months ... our electricity bill is witness to that! So they cut it off:
There's the offending article in the middle of the wall. Then they re-routed it up through the ceiling and across to the bath, then also along the wall to the sink ... I wonder if that will work as a heated towel rail ... And then they drilled a hole through to the kitchen and put a pipe through there too (after I told then the other day I definitely did want to have hot water in the kitchen!)
That's a pretty scary-looking pipe arrangement in the bath. The landlord got onto his phone and had a conversation with our liaison person. I waited, expecting the house phone to ring again, and his wife kept flapping at him telling him to hand the phone to me. But he refused - he was muttering something to himself and beckoned me into the bathroom. This was his big moment, time to use the word he had heard on the phone and was practising under his breath. "Gent-a-lee!" he explained, lifting the tap handle up and down a few times. "Yes, gently, always gently!" I agreed, and he looked very pleased with himself.
We had a phone call today from the person who had been on the phone, wanting to make sure we had understood his message ok. She told us to "Always open the pipe softly".
Yeah, we'll do that!