An ear-splitting scream shattered the neighbourhood that morning as the young Swedish au pair who had moved in alongside the young family into the house opposite, came running down the drive bawling. Fearing the worst, both Dad and I hightailed it into their house to be confronted by six-year-old Sophie and her younger sister Emily crying at the top of the stairs. Neither of them appeared to be hurt, however, water had begun to flow down the stairs and it appeared to be coming from the bathroom.
Upon closer inspection after wading through a few inches of water, it seemed that the toilet was blocked. Young Sophie informed me that both mummy and daddy had gone to work leaving them in the safe hands of Camilla, the au pair, who was shrieking at the water pouring through the bathroom floor into the kitchen below.
As my Dad can always be relied on in any crisis; he immediately switched off the power and located the water stopcock before we started investigating any further. Sophie stood forlornly in the bathroom as my Dad ascertained that there was a substantial blockage in the bathroom pipes. I tried to comfort Sophie whilst young Emily told me that they were both upset because their pet guinea pig Mr Giggles had died the night before. I suggested that we all pop across the road to our house for a nice piece of chocolate cake when Sophie started to howl like a banshee whilst telling me that she was pretty sure that her parents were going to ground her.
Puzzled I asked if she had done something to cause the flood and in between sobs, she told me that she had decided to give Mr Giggles a burial at sea just like her mummy had done with their goldfish Nemo when he had died. As she didn’t want Nemo to be on his own anymore, she had despatched Mr Giggles in the same way.
Sadly a professional needed to be called and my Dad had to calmly explain several times over the telephone to the plumber that a portly ginger guinea pig was the cause of the blockage. I secretly thought that the plumber would be dining out on that particular story for sometime to come.