Our bathroom has always been pretty hideous. The bath was cheap and plastic. Plastic baths are OK, but not when they are made of thin cheap plastic!
Anyway, it has suffered years of abuse form the girls when they were younger. Every evening, the girls would play in the bath with their toy figures such as kings queens and horses mainly, and they also found the bath a good place to play when it was empty.
Each game would usually end up with the evil witch being nasty to the princess and the prince riding along on his horse to save her. This means that the whole thing would end up in a lot of punching, slapping and screaming while the prince and evil witch fight. During each fight, lots of things would get dropped in the bath and eventually, the poor bath would get hairline cracks in it. That is how cheap it was!
Just in case you were worried, the prince always won and him and the princess would live happily ever after.
So, Steph was having a bath one evening and was singing away as usual. I noticed water dripping through the dining room ceiling. Well, the prince, princess and evil witch had cracked the bath and the water was coming through the ceiling and the light!!
So after that, we could only have showers, much to Stephs horror cos she does love to wallow in a bath that one. Ady put patches of silage tape over the cracks.
The shower was one of those hideous ones from the taps with a pully knob thing to make the shower work or the taps work. Well it never worked very well at all and as soon as you turned the shower on, the flipping hose would woosh off the end of the shower head, so that got stuck with silage tape too. Bloody thing, even Ady with all his urine woes could piss faster than the shower!
Ady will always make do with what he is presented with, but I never liked him using the shower and climbing in the thin crappy bath. It’s slippery at the best of times, but when you are in his state of ill health and decrepitness, it’s time to think about a replacement. Also, with his arthritis, he will just struggle on quietly until he has an accident. Realistically, the whole bathroom setup is not geared for Ady’s safety now or in the future.
There is a website called Turn2Us. They are fantastical with all things benefits related and charity related.
I told them of our problem and asked if there were any charities or organisations that could help with the funding. If you don’t ask, you don’t get and it was worth a try cos there is no way we could afford to do it ourselves now.
They gave me the number of a charity called Perennial. They were called The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society but have had a name change. I rang Sue, who is now our case worker and she was lovely. As Ady has been a gardener all his life, she was sure they could help us.
During all this, I had got mark, our local builder and friend to come and look at the bathroom to see what could be done. It is all a long story, but we ended up deciding to make Stephs room bigger because you could literally fit her bed in and a foot of space at the side and that was it for her room, make the bathroom smaller and put a proper shower in. That way, if I have to wash Ady (God help him) then it will be easy for me and we can also put grab rails if we need, quite easily.
The walls were all simple partition walls, so very simple to move.
Mark had a spare week before he started on a big job and he was happy to crack on with the job and worry about payment later. Our children were in the same class at school and I worked with his wife so there is a lot of trust either way.
The work started on the Monday, and Sue came to visit us on the Thursday I think it was. It was the day they were doing the pipe work, I know that!
The house was in a complete mess cos Stephs room and the bathroom had been cleared out and all the clothes were all over the dining room table along with goodness knows what else scattered everywhere. I was momentarily embarrassed when she turned up actually.
Poor Sue walked in, sidestepping all the junk into the sitting room to find Ady out for the count, snoring away while there was banging and drilling going on upstairs.
I woke Ady up and we all sat down to go through the finances and benefits ect to see if they could help.
We were half way through our cup of tea when blow me down, water came pissing through the ceiling all over my washing that was on the table. (that’s how I know she came on the day they were doing the pipes). I shouted up to Mark that we were having a bit of a water problem and the next minute, the poor guys (there were two of them and they were both called Mark, apart from dangerous Dave the electrician who drilled through his nail that I had to administer first aid to) had to make a hole in the ceiling to let the water through, so there they were with hammers smashing holes in my ceiling. There was plaster, dust, water and general crap everywhere. All I could do was laugh. I thought bloody hell, here is this poor woman who has driven an hour and a half to try and help us and the whole house is fecking carnage. No point trying to be posh now!!
Sue said that she was very sure she could give us some help and she needed to go to the committee and ask because it was more than they usually give out in one go.
Well, these people are absolutely BRILLIANT!
They have actually paid for the bathroom to be done. I actually can’t believe it!! How lucky are we !!!
If I ever win the lottery, I will be paying them back, but for now, it is a grant that they gave to us, for free. It doesn’t matter how I write it, I still dont believe it!!
Mark is happy to wait for the money for Stephs room cos he is such a love, and anyway, I did bake him lots of cakes and quiche!
Not only did they give us a grant, Sue has become a bit of a mentor, although she does wonder how I keep smiling and still find things amusing...she doesn’t realise I am mental yet! I think she feels sorry for us actually.
I got Steph a lovely bed and chest of drawers from the British Heart Foundation shop and the YMCA place, painted them up and they are as good as new. I am chuffed to bits with the chest of drawers cos it is one of the old types in the dark wood that are in old peoples houses with the mirror on top. They just dont make them the same these days.
I will tell you more about Sue from Perennial when I tell you about the DWP saga that is about to happen.
But for now, Sue from Perennial, you ROCK and THANK YOU !!!!