The Situation Then: A year ago the water system froze and burst, resulting in no running water to the property, leaky split pipes and no central heating.
The Situation Now: A new water tank installed downstairs, and a working toilet/ shower/ sink. However, no internal staircase between bottom and middle floors, and a week spent running between upstairs and downstairs to wash dishes and use the bathroom. Minus temperatures, buckets of snow and a slippery external staircase. Situation: unsustainable, though actually mildly fun for a week. A wise mid week investment = rubber soled slippers. 4 months use of the property still ahead before the renovation work truly begins. Clearly the crockery will not survive travelling such a distance from kitchen to sink and back again. Not to mention the total bother of having to put on all your outdoor clothing to quickly nip to the bathroom...
The Ambition: To temporarily connect the water system downstairs with the kitchen sink and the upstairs bathroom, installing new pipes to replace the old split ones, prior to the main renovation overhaul in a few months.
The First Hitch: The bath was panelled with brick and tiles, rather than wood or chipboard. So that had to go in order to gain access to the pipes beneath, before work could even start.
The Second Hitch: The walls/ floors between levels are solid, thick concrete. It took hours and hours to create suitable holes to connect up the pipes. Hours, and the sad demise of two drills. RIP.
The Third/ Fourth/ Fifth Hitch(es): None of the old lead and iron pipes would take the new fittings and joints - a new tap bought and a new hole cut into the solid kitchen sink, amongst other unexpected setbacks and delays, one after another.
The Hours of Frustration: It took 3 days and 5 men to remove the old and install the new. 3 days, 5 men and a lot of swearing.
The Final Outcome: The kitchen sink works! The bathroom sink works! The toilet flushes! The bath and shower don't work, so this isn't a total raging success story of Men vs Pipes - it just totally refused to succumb to all persuasive plumbing demands. But have never appreciated a convenient kitchen water source in quite the same way, washing up has a golden glowing positive sheen it has never had previously. Long may that last.
A Further Conclusion: Plumbing is difficult to make look photographically chic...and, let's be honest, it's probably difficult to make it narratively interesting too.