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“Can you speak up a bit, I’m a little deaf.”

27th July 2017

It’s always going to be interesting when a customer with a blocked toilet calls and says, “Can you speak up a bit, I’m a little deaf.”

To be met at the door of a wonderful old house by an elderly couple, who had clearly been successful prior to their retirement, was the start of a delightful couple of hours. The lady was certainly deaf and her husband, whom she cared for was suffering from the onset of dementia, but had perfect hearing.

The bathroom wasn’t small, but with the three of us in there it was rather cramped. The old guy was telling me about the drainage systems on the ships he had captained over the years whilst his wife was constantly asking me to speak up … and both of them watching what was happening.

Their old pale blue toilet was blocked with heavy deposits of lime scale which meant it had to be removed for cleaning and carried out through the house, the lady went in front opening the doors and her husband followed closing the doors behind us, including the back door which unfortunately shut on the latch, locking us all out!

Obviously this was not the first time, as after she’d suitably chastised her husband for his carelessness, she used a hidden spare key to get back in and then asked “Would you like to join us for a little lunch young man?” “Let me finish with the toilet first please!” I replied.

She went to make the lunch but her husband never left my side, talking non-stop, asking questions and re-counting his career at sea. His long term memory was very vivid but it was clear he was suffering with short term memory loss; needless to say ‘we’ soon had the toilet de-scaled, carried back through the house and refitted.

I didn’t know what to expect for lunch, but not the wonderful ploughman’s lunch presented on the dining table, complete with check table cloth, cheese board, pickles, salad and fresh bread ….. and a small glass of sherry, which I declined of course.


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