19 December 2010
What A Terrible 24 Hours
It has been one of those 24 hours that we could really have done without. We have been staying up at my parents in Northumberland to celebrate Christmas with my parents, sister and brother and their families, which was lovely.
But it all started going wrong last night - our eldest was sick during the night, so very little sleep was had and much embarassed cleaning of bathroom and carpets in the deep, dark night.
Then on the way home, we drove down a small road, which had a high central bump of solid ice. It ripped the exhaust apart on our car, so I had to drive embarassed again, but this time with a motor that ripped through the quiet afternoon like an angry lion. A two hour wait at Kwik Fit at Denton Burn in Newcastle ensued before our car could be checked and the fantastic staff cobbled the exhaust back together for nothing. A big heartfelt thank you to all the staff at Denton Burn KwikFit.
Sophie had gone ahead with my father to North Yorkshire as our daughter had her tap exam, which had been postponed several weeks ago due to snow. She rang with the final piece of bad news to say that we had been called by the landlords on Barker Business Park to say there was water gushing out of our office door. I detoured via Steenbergs' factory and sure enough there was water coursing under the office door and out into the car park and the fire alarm was ringing angrily. Inside the ceiling had collapsed onto two desks and water was running 4 inches deep through the office, trashing all the computers, some stock and paperwork. I switched off the water and electricity in the office and wept standing in freezing cold water in below zero temperatures, which must have been a pitiful sight.
Since then, I have called the insurers to start a claim, informed the staff (most of whom will come in to help clear up and continue trading) and had our IT specialists take the server away to check it still works and that the back-ups from Friday are okay. We have left messages with our usual builder and electrician, and will call the plumber and skip hire tomorrow morning. As an aside, the use of a paper based insulation for the roof was a great idea at the time, but has made a huge mess of the office as it is covered in thin scum of grey newspaper over the sodden carpet.
These things are sent to try us, but we will overcome. By Friday, I can hopefully enter the Christmas spirit and roll on 2011. The end of 2010 has been truly hard work and I cannot wait for a new beginning.
Update 22 December 2010
We have removed all the ceiling and the carpet tiles. Mess, debris and damaged floor, ceiling, paperwork and insulation has been chucked into a skip. The floor is now a clean but damp concrete base and the ceiling beams are open to the elements, as the metal building has no cladding and has just a single skin (it is basically a farm building pretending to be an industrial unit), so the damp freezes on the roof then as the temperature creeps back to zero it melts and it rains down through the beams and on to the floor. The new ceiling will not be in place now until the new year, because the building trade is largely shut down for the holiday period, but the beams have been made good and all the screws and edges have been cleaned down ready to fix up a new load of ceiling board.
The burst pipes have been repaired, but the water has not been switched on as the pipes are frozen; we will need to wait until it warms up then we will switch on the water and wait to find any other burst pipes before putting a new ceiling on. On the business park, there have been masses of burst pipes and leaks, but our damage is the worst; I have counted over 15 frozen breaks in the plumbing, which is not a great advert for British building, and like the airports, I am sure that Swedish and Finnish buildings do not have so many burst pipes.
On a positive, we now have new phones even if the warehouse is currently my huge office space. The new PCs were delivered but the server never appeared even though it was on a before 12 delivery today, which is strange as it should have come with the PCs. The computers will need to go into our small kitchen space until we have a new office.
Update 23 December 2010
Today we have cleared out the changing area, borrowed some water to clean the floor and made this into a temporary office area. We just need some computers. Integral IT have set up 3 new computers but is still waiting for a new server, which was sent on a before 12 noon for 22 December. Jonathan from Integral IT even went to the local Citylink depot and was shown into a room with about 4000 undelivered parcels for the North Yorkshire region - what a fiasco and I am glad we do not use them for our deliveries. To add insult to injury, when I got home, I had received a letter from North Yorkshire Police to say I had been doing 58 mph in a 50 mph area in the roadworks near Rainton last Sunday when off to investigate check whether we had a leak; perhaps I was a bit distracted?