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Thursday, 1 November 2012

it's been playing on my mind

tomorrow i have workmen coming to my house. 

a couple of weeks ago i realised that paper in my lounge was coming away from the wall. on examination i decided the shower must be leaking. it's directly above and it's happened before, i assumed the repair had sprung a leak and would need fixing again. secure in the knowledge i had diagnosed the problem i made a phone call to "the man who can" and did nothing until his arrival. 

a couple of days later, him lying on the bathroom floor shining a torch under the bath it was clear for all to see that everything was dry, there was no leak. at this point as i had done nothing to examine the problem, just declared diagnosis, i suddenly thought "am i imagining this? i'm sure the wall was cold at least". downstairs we trek. "the man who can" does indeed confirm i am right the paper has come away from the wall and the wall is indeed cold. 

as there is no obvious sign of a leak above we head outside to check the gutters. no blockages, no breakages, everything in good order. there is one last thing to check, the brickwork. from the top of the ladders his diagnosis is confirmed. there is water ingress through my brickwork. the mortar has perished leaving small holes that rain can get into. "is this an exposed wall, does it get the weather?" he asks "yes" i reply "it is and it does". "it's not a big job" he says, "it's only a small area, all it needs is the old mortar to be raked out and new mortar inserted to weatherproof the house and stop the water getting in". the relief i felt was palpable. i had not wasted someones time, he was not only able to diagnose the problem but fix it also.

since that has happened it has been playing on my mind that i made an assumption. not only that but i went with that assumption. i didn't investigate, i didn't ask questions, i did not attempt to understand the root cause of the problem. i also jumped to the obvious solution, didn't take my time to consider other options. how often do i do that? how often do we all do that? 

this brickwork problem of mine is small and listening to the diagnosis a couple of things struck me. the size of the holes; bigger than the eye of a needle yet smaller than the head of a nail. that is all that is needed for rain to get in, soak your brickwork and damage your decoration. aren't we all exposed to the weather of life? don't we all at points feel battered by the elements? the other thing that struck me was the solution to the problem; just rake out the old mortar and replace with new. simple, easy and effective.

thinking on this i resolved to try not to make as many assumptions as i do. have you ever tried it? once you do you realise how much you assume and take for granted and how much is ingrained. they say prevention is better than cure. i can't say i'm finding it as easy as rake out the old and replace with new but i am assuming (ahem) my new awareness will be my first step to waterproofing myself. i'm quite sure lifes storms will soon test my resolve. only then will i find out if my new decoration is a flimsy summer dress in a downpour or if i'm fully equipped with waders for the deluge.  


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