You’ve heard of tap saga. Now prepare yourself for… Damp Saga. The story of one man’s quest to conquer the Forces of Dampness that threaten to overthrow his way of life, turning everything slightly moist and, upon close inspection, slightly mouldy.
I am currently battling dampness on four war-torn fronts.
From the north, the paint on the bathroom windowframe and windowsill has worn away to a point where wood is visible. This is because, in their infinite wisdom, previous owners of the house positioned the bath under the window, so when you have a shower you spray the whole window area with water.
From above, the new loft insulation I fitted last year is keeping the house warm, but it’s also keeping the loft damp, with condensation forming to such a degree that in very cold weather it effectively rains in there. Everything we store in the loft is now under tarpaulins, except for the things we didn’t cover in time, which are ruined. I have fitted new vents to the roof to get some fresh air through it and eliminate this unwelcome indoor microclimate.
From below, the very high water table in this area (the whole housing estate might be built in what is technically a lake) means that in anything less than drought conditions the lawn is often under an inch of water. My neighbour has an elaborate plan to resolve this by digging big holes, creating new soakaway pits and laying pipes, though I can’t help feeling that his plan will only succeed if they are big enough to absorb all the rain in this area of Hampshire.
And from the west, water running downhill through a series of back gardens is now making its way through the wall of the garage, where it turns out the woodwork starts below ground level. This means that, now the monsoon season has arrived in the loft, we have nowhere to store anything that we wish to keep dry. A big damp patch is creeping across the floor and fixing it is going to involve removing a whole line of garden fence and digging up part of next door’s garden. I have made a half baked effort to deal with the symptoms using wood preserver and cutting holes in the garage wall to allow air in. I do not feel hopeful about this.
Unlike #tapsaga, there is no satisfying ending to this where, after a hundred frustrating steps, everything works out. This saga is just an ongoing list of damp situations. Thankfully the inside of my car is still dry, most of the time, so I have decided to live there instead. Please send towels and talcum powder.