A PENSIONER couple left without a kitchen for four months after a burst pipe flooded their home found out this week they will still be washing dishes in the bath over Christmas.

John and Maggi Espin, aged 78 and 66, have been left with no cooking facilities or running water downstairs for 15 weeks after their kitchen was taken out in the middle of August.

This week their insurance company broke the news that it will not be ready for Christmas - when they had planned to cook Christmas dinner for their daughter visiting from Australia.

John, who suffers with a lymphedema obstruction in his leg, is forced to make up to fifty journeys upstairs a day to undertake everyday chores.

His wife Maggi said the stress is causing John’s illness to worsen and is causing problems with family and friends.

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She said: “We are carrying pots up and down the stairs in a bucket and eating anything that you can microwave.

“We are even having to buy bottled water so that John can take his medication without making another journey upstairs.

“If you can’t make it in a microwave or put it between two slices of bread you can’t eat it. It’s not cheap either.

“We are having to rely on friends and neighbours to do our washing, and my next door neighbour’s machine has just broken. I obviously feel partially responsible for that but if it wasn’t for these friends I don’t know how we would have coped.”

The couple’s troubles began in March when they returned home to Chapel Street, Birdwell, from a holiday to find a water pipe had burst and gone all the way through the house.

They received confirmation in July that the house was dry and said they were told by the insurance company, Cunningham Lindsey, to have the kitchen taken out ready for the refit.

She said: “We took the kitchen out on August 24 and chose the new kitchen.

“We were then told the kitchen we had chosen was £2,000 over, so we had that to sort out.

“We had braced ourselves that it was going to take six weeks, but 15 weeks later we are still here and on Monday we were told by the contractors, Neway, that it will not be completed by Christmas.

“Our daughter, who lives in Australia, is coming home for Christmas and we aren’t able to enjoy that now.

“We don’t want to go out for Christmas dinner, we want to enjoy it at home.

“She has had these flights booked since last summer and we are so disappointed. We are at our wits end.”

A spokesman for the insurers said: “We have spoken to the client (yesterday) and endeavoured to get the work started on Monday, December 17 and for the kitchen to be fully completed by the first week in January.

“We have also offered Mrs Espin a voucher as a good will gesture for a store of her choice.”