As I’m working at my computer, local carpenter Martin Fox (no relation) is busy outside, rehanging the front door.
The door’s been sticky for a few months now, we’ve been blaming the weather, but have now finally got round to getting it fixed. Martin’s not only fixed the door, but has diagnosed the problem: a gap in the gutter on the upstairs flat has caused water to pour down, soak the corner of our door, and cause it to swell. I’m getting onto the housing office to get the gutter repairs sorted out. But it would be so much better if this hadn’t happened in the first place.
It reminds me of all the other problems caused by not sorting out the gutters, from recurrent damp patches in people’s homes to collapsing ceilings in historic houses. The pity of it is that often these disasters can be avoided by a spot of what my friend George Allan calls preventative maintenance – fixing things before they go wrong.
He’s focusing on historic buildings, but as my door repair shows, modest modern homes are affected too.
So if, unlike me, you have your own gutters, I’d definitely recommend getting them checked and cleaned before you have a worse problem to deal with.