Friday, 13 August 2010

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

There have been odd goings on in the Yak household of late. On Tuesday the flat was suddenly filled with a smell - one that was initially hard to define. It was the smell you get when you steam off old wall-paper; we wondered if one of our neighbours was decorating.
On Wednesday the smell was still there, but I didn't give it much more conscious thought. I had noticed that there weren't any other signs of neighbours decorating but drew no conclusions, apart from thinking maybe I should open a window.

On Wednesday evening at running club I had a tune fixed in my head. Which happens fairly often - and it always means something, but again I didn't give it much thought. I don't know the name of the song but its a Cure song and it starts "Its 8.15 on a Saturday night", and the chorus goes "and the tap goes drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip."

So I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up on Thursday and Peter had left me a note to say "The smell's coming out of the washing machine cupboard, the plaster is soaked and I can hear a drip, can you do something about it?" He had to be at work. So did I as a matter of fact, but not for a few hours.

Upon careful investigation I could see there were drips forming and dropping from the ceiling. They hadn't been making much noise because that cupboard's full of sleeping bags and bedding and pillows.
Fast forward a few hours and I've cancelled my shift, losing a day's wages and the cupboard's emptied out all over the sitting room. Buckets are filling up with filthy yellow water leaking through from the roof-space.

We've had a plumber in and established that there was a leak into our neighbour's flat at the weekend and the people who manage their property sent out (reading between the lines) somebody from the circus. (My neighbour said the man who came was so small he could hardly lift his ladders and hit them off every wall as he came up the stairs.) This circus person found a hole in the lead mains pipe and so he wrapped the hole with insulating material - problem solved - it diverted the leak out of their flat into our flat!

The plumber had to go but promised to fit me in for the middle of the next day. (Today). I had a long run planned for today but it would have to wait. Today the plumber comes but the mains thingmy (I'm at the end of my plumbing vocabulary) outside is stuck tight and he can't put the mains water off. He speaks to Scottish Water, they are going to come and loosen it off for him, and then he's going to come back tomorrow and fix the leak. He goes away. I go out a horrible long run. It was meant to be 20 miles but my legs are still very sore from Wednesday night's hard club session. I call it a day at 16 and a bit miles. When I stop running I can hardly walk my legs are so stiff.

Back up at the flat there's a message from the plumber on the answer machine. Scottish Water have broken off the top of the thingmy (stop-cock?) and will now have to dig up the pavement to fix it. But its 5pm on a Friday night and it certainly won't be happening tonight, or probably this weekend.

So I'm thinking vaguely about bad luck as I do the dishes and I suddenly remember a horror film that I once saw where someone got revenge on someone else by visiting all the plagues of Egypt on them. What plagues of Egypt? What film? All I can think of is "The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus", but that's an album by "psychedelic ensemble" Spirit.

Time for Wikipedia, and pretty soon I've found what I'm looking for. The name of the film is The Abominable Dr. Phibes and it all comes flooding back. A complicated story - but Dr. Phibes thinks that a number of doctors are responsible for the death of his wife so he invents elaborate ways of killing them that relate to the plagues of Egypt. I particularly remember he made a frog-head for a fancy dress party for one of the doctors and when the doctor put it on it triggered a mechanism which made the frog-head tighten until the head beneath was crushed.

Comforting memories of childhood come pouring back where me and my sister lie in sleeping bags in the dark watching horror films and frightening ourselves senseless. Oh for those simple times. If you have read all the way down to here you deserve a prize.


Anonymous said...

That is a fabulous film and I can see how you might feel you've been living it. Fortunately it sounds like your leak is water not chlorophyl so you're probably safe from the locusts.

Yak Hunter said...

Aha Karin, you have deserved a prize!