This is a surprisingly popular topic among expats.
For several months I have been having a war with my landlady about the fact that the ballcock in the cistern does not switch off the water flow properly and so the toilet runs continuously. Apart from the minor inconvenience of noise, this situation is often of no interest in most former Soviet countries. These days, Eastern Europe is generally billed by meter for water, so they know not to waste it, but not in Georgia.
I began the battle to get the office toilet fixed after being shamed by my Greek colleague. We both agreed that it was necessary and so asked our office manager to organise that landlady to do it. Now in Britain this problem is usually caused by a faulty washer, a simple piece of rubber seal which needs replacing from time to time. Of course you can often fix it by reflushing the toilet, since it is one of those irritating intermittent faults that disappear when the plumber appears, and you become even more unpopular for wasting people's time. In Georgia, it seems more complicated, involving replacement of many more parts, which have to be bought in the bazaar, rather than a well-equipped DIY superstore, so the quality is not guaranteed.
After various failed appointments by the landlady's plumber, he turned up drunk, but eventually we had a working flush.
Then my home toilet malfunctioned. My landlady is a very important lady doctor, who has no time to deal with such mundane activities as the toilet, but does have time to be incredibly rude to my Georgian colleagues who are helping me, as well as time to rush round to collect a vast quantity of dollars every three months to pay for her trips abroad. So this saga has dragged on and on, (punctuated by the toilet working perfectly every now and then) for about six months, finally with a plumber suggesting she buy a new toilet (at vast expense for his labour). Naturally she didn't want to do that and in any case was too busy to find time. I gave her an ultimatum to repair it during my last trip abroad. I came back to find nothing changed, though my office manager said it worked perfectly when he tested it. Sigh.
This saga was having no satisfactory outcome until I had a shouting match with her on my mobile phone, while I was in the middle of the street. This was so undignified, I told her I was not willing to continue discussing it. This actually had some effect, and I thought it was a good line for use on other occasions in the future.
I was so pissed off, I spent most of the rent she was due on some carpets for my new flat. I realised my contract was coming up for renewal, so we had a showdown when I paid her about half what she was expecting and told her I was moving out.
Suddenly a cake appeared, she spent Saturday morning with the expensive plumber buying me a completely new Finnish toilet (instructions in Lithuanian, very conveniently) and we have all been happy ever since.
I can't believe I have really spent half an hour writing about the toilet flush.
And now there is only the phone to fix. Working today, who knows tomorrow.