Monday, 11 July 2016

The case of The Mysterious Cabbage

Over the last couple of days I've started to notice a faint aroma in the house. As it's been warm and windy, I put it down to the neighbours' bins being kept not too far from their back door (which is also quite near our bathroom window as the bathrooms are on the ground floor).

As it was so windy last night, I closed the bathroom window vent, which I usually leave open to allow a minimal airflow around the house and when I came downstairs this morning the smell was hideous. Hmm, this meant that the smell, which was getting stronger by the hour, was coming from inside the house. We have the plumber coming on Thursday to fit a sink unit that I bought years ago into the bathroom and I really didn't want him to walk into a stinky house. Actually, I don't want to be in a stinky house, so it was urgent that I found the problem and got it sorted.

The incubator is on a table in the snug, which is really just an inner hall in the centre of the house, so if one of the eggs had gone bad the smell, which was starting to make my eyes water, would travel around the ground floor. I braced myself for the horror of discovering a burst egg in the incubator and lifted the lid and found, actually what I really found was one tiny piece of the ground floor that didn't smell of rotting cabbage and gone off eggs! So, not a bad egg in the incubator then.

Like a cartoon rabbit with nose a-twitching I sniffed my way around the ground floor. Shower room smelt fine, no stinky smell in there. Kitchen didn't smell of anything other than the basil plant on the island unit and the scented geranium on the windowsill. Lounge was a bit smelly but the bathroom smelled worst and I just couldn't locate the exact spot it was coming from. My big worry now was that some water had got under the flooring and was trapped there, going stagnant and slimy, out of sight but very much not out of nasal passages.

There was only one thing for it, to clean the bathroom from top to bottom and see if I could locate exactly the source of the smell. It was becoming torturous, I desperately wanted to rid the house of the smell (and whatever was causing it), but was starting to gag at the strength of the smell. Giving up on finding the exact problem until after I had cleaned it thoroughly, I opened the window as wide as I could and surprise, surprise the eye-watering and gagging sensation subsided. Now why I didn't open the window earlier is beyond me, I think I was just so focused on finding what the problem was that all sense and reason had gone out of the window, unlike the smell!

With some fresh air diluting the aroma it was easy to swish the cobweb removing tickling stick thingy around the ceiling and walls (which I did a few days ago and was therefore pretty much a waste of time), I wiped down all the skirting boards, also done last week, but there was a bit of fluff and dust, so worth doing again. I put more white vinegar into the toilet cistern and sink hole and then I while I was on my hands and knees wiping over the floor I realised that the smell was coming from under the bath. Phewee!

This is where things got really inelegant. I am really very overweight as a result of my thyroid dysfunction, not just a little overweight, but around four stones or more overweight. Carrying around the extra bulkiness makes my knees hurt and ankles swell and my movements are rather awkward when trying to get up and down at floor level. So, I slid in a rather comical way onto my tummy and now like a beached porpoise was trying to reach right under the bath to wipe the floor with a damp cloth and check whether the smell was indeed under the floor covering.

Annoyingly but thankfully, the smell wasn't coming from under the floor covering. I was relieved that we weren't going to have to lift the flooring or worry that the under-floor heating system had been compromised, but at the same time annoyed that I still hadn't found the source of the problem. So I then had to scramble backwards to get out from under the bath before I could pull myself up to be on my hands and knees and then work my way to an upright position. You know those moments when you are really pleased that there isn't a CCTV camera filming you? This was one of those times.

So, the smell wasn't coming from outside or the loo or sink or floor, that only left... yup I'd found it, the smell was, to my utter disgust, coming from the bath plug hole! Seriously, who had stuffed a rotting cabbage down the plug hole? It was rancid!  So, armed with a gallon container of white vinegar I set to sorting out the problem. A couple of small glugs of vinegar down the drain and the removal of some of my hair from the drain insert seems to have sorted out the immediate pong.

An hour later I am still left wondering what on earth caused the issue in the first place and right now I am really missing extra strength bleach (which we don't use because of the negative impact it has on the micro-organisms in the septic tank and reed bed filtration system). But I am pleased to report that the bathroom smells delightful once again and now, without a doubt, it's time for a cuppa!


  1. I just snorted tea out of my nose and woke up the baby!! Oh goodness me I love your writing! Cx

  2. Oh Liz, I can definitely relate to the painful knees and swollen ankles and can just visualise your actions. It's a nightmare isn't it? lol xx Sheila


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