"That has nothing to do with the bad news," I added on the phone to my wife, "but it might soften the blow ..."
Earlier I got a call at work from Bonusbarn around midday. Praise the Lord that made us for sixth form timetables and free periods.
"Minor problem. We've got a leak."
"Oh, crud. Where?"
"Water's coming through the ceiling into the living room. Should I move some stuff out?"
"Is that water I can hear behind you?"
"I'm coming home."
It could have been so much worse ...
The gauchos refitting the kitchen in the flat above (which traditionally provides us with entertainment of this kind) had capped a pipe which then uncapped itself. Their foreman lamented, "I only left them alone for a couple of minutes!" But it mostly dripped down the walls of the living room or through a few fracture zones in the plaster, like the light fittings: the sound I could hear was it dripping into the buckets that Bonusbarn had already put in place. It had avoided the TV and the computer altogether. The sofas got wet, but not catastrophically; ditto the carpet, but it's a rug rather than fitted with waterproof wood-effect vinyl beneath, so we could lift it up. Tomorrow the penitent foreman delivers a dehumidifier and that should undo 95% of the damage.
The lightswitch was buzzing so I've removed the fuse for the main lights, and until the room is dehumidified we're existing on lights that plug into sockets. We still have hot water and the shower. What effect this has had on the book collection ... well, I'm resigned to that. If anything got wet it's nothing that can't be replaced.
And the biggest plus of all is the calm and sensible way Bonusbarn acted on his own. If he's ever faced with a structural failure in his future home, he'll find it much less terrifying with this experience under his belt. The boy done good.