Saturday, December 29, 2007

Normal Service has been Resumed

Slowly the fingers of heat found their way through the cold frostbitten pipes. From the pipes the heat danced through the air replacing the cold with fabulous warmth, for so long missing from this poor house. Oh yes, many hoorays I now have a new boiler!!

The two chaps who came to fit said boiler could have been a double act although Laurel and Hardy they were not. More Good Cop, Bad Cop. In a display of stereotypical nonsense that you just could not make up we had a cheery happy bloke and a miserable bad tempered fellow. Cheery fellow would attempt any feat of plumbing or electrical bravery with a kindly smile and a pleasant word while bad tempered fellow just looked on in disgust. Attempts at pleasing the customer were far from his priority. Bad tempered fellow informed me with some pleasure that he could not fit the thermostat to my new boiler while cheery fellow managed the simple task without problems. Bad tempered fellow was not amused, but regained his bad tempered ground on telling me that I was going to have a large hole in the wall to fill. With glee he took me to the kitchen to show me the rather disturbing spectacle of daylight forced through a large rough hole in the wall. A hole large enough that a window could comfortably have fitted into its circumference. However, the hand, and Pollyfilla, of cheery fellow was in on this, as when I next looked the hole was miraculously filled in. If you hold a light object up to it there is a slight motion but I’m not going to let that worry me.

I had been told that all you need to do to ensure happy workmen is to offer them tea/coffee and lots of biscuits. This I attempted to do, but both workmen were not interested. Perhaps with some food and drink inside them things would have been very different.

My dad came over and we tried a new trick. He asked me to hold my head over the gas hob (on but not lit). This could be seen as a) Child Abuse or b) Testing to make sure that I could smell any potential gas leaks. I’m kind of hoping it was b). Scarily the upshot of it was that Cheery fellow could smell it but my dad and I couldn’t. Should I be worried?

Come the end of the day’s work and cheery fellow was dispatched to the van. I felt that things could now get difficult with my erstwhile saviour engaged removed from the house and currently lashing the ladder to the roof of the van. Bad tempered fellow probably felt the same way and he loaded his final bad tempered bullet, took aim and fired. All he needed was well over £1000 there and then, cash or cheque only. I looked at him and laughed. He didn’t return the laughter. I tried a smile but the effect was the same. Eventually I persuaded him that, as the invoice I had signed stated 30 days to pay (I had checked this before I signed) that that is just what would happen. He tried to tell me that the “30 days to pay” didn’t mean anything. “It’s just what we put on our invoices but you don’t really have 30 days to pay. We just get the money right away.” My dad came in at this point and laughed even more. Bad tempered man remained bad tempered. There was a moment (only a moment but it appeared to last) where we stared each other out wondering who would be the first to flinch, to back down, to capitulate. I actually wondered if he would attempt to dismantle the boiler. Fortunately he didn’t and we were able to negotiate. Reasoning with him that we simply did not have the money and therefore we would have to get the money together before he would see a penny of it seemed to do the trick. We did reassure him that we would get it to him soon but you can be sure that “soon” will be 30 days!!! He seemed to believe us on the subject of the speed of his receiving his money and left, still bad tempered. I wondered if, in fact, his bad temper is what his customers know and love him for and, probably come to expect from him. If he started being cheery would they not be a little disappointed? Added to this, what would cheery fellow do? Would he be forced to adopt the affectations of bad tempered fellow?

Once he was gone I moved through my newly warm house. It felt strange not to have to be moving large electric heaters about with me and thinking about where best to put then to gain the best heat advantage. A small part of me actually missed the security of the newly abandoned routine.

I sat down and sighed. Then, just because I could and they were there, I demolished all the uneaten biscuits.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

So it’s that time of the year again. Apparently Dustin Hoffman celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. That could either mean double the misery; visits from the dreaded in-laws or double the fun; loads more presents.

As for me I will be spending it very quietly; seeing a few friends and family. Whatever you are doing over Christmas, have a lovely time and I will see you all back here in 2008.

I hope you all have a merry and peaceful Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's A Bit Parky Round These Here Parts

It's short and sweet today. So far this week I have: Bought all my Christmas Presents and actually wrapped some of them - Hooray, Bought and posted all my cards - Again Hooray, Organised and sent invitations for my Hogmanay Party - Phew. However just as I was congratulating myself on my amazing organisational abilities my boiler broke down. It hasn't exactly stopped working; more it's making a noise that sounds as if it is channelling all the agonies of the world out into my kitchen - ie it is none too pleasant. To put it out of its misery I have now turned it off in the vain hope that I will find a heating engineer before the Christmas Holidays and, more importantly, before my Hogmanay Party. Should I contact my friends now and ask them to bring woolly jumpers?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cold Comfort

Slowly she inched towards me with a sharp implement in her hand. The damage she would inflict upon me would be cruel and terrifying.

My hairdresser had a cold and I would soon have a taste of the suffering she was experiencing.

The hairdressers I go to is not a state of the art affair with designer fittings and hairdressers with names like Anton and Marcus. Instead it’s a very small room filled with hairspray and mousse ready to fall from narrow counters and also doubles as a men’s barbers. A young boy was in the chair next to me in the barbers section eyed up his hairdresser with a deep suspicion.

With the usual pleasantaries over (ie “Are you doing anything nice tonight?” “No, are you?” “No” “Oh Well then”) she proceeded to tell me that she had a really wretched cold. A cold which, by her heroic attempts to struggle into work, I was now destined to catch. To give her her due she was able to tame the disaster zone which my hair had become but she also left the seeds of her virus in amongst the remaining follicles. This act of sharing complete, when next I touched my hair the cold time bomb would be released to choke my system.

My hair looked good but the timebomb duly went off. The sore throat started and I immediately took some Echinacea. Sadly this didn’t seem to have much effect but I took more just in case my cold would have been worse had I not taken any. Next I started to cough and tried some lockets. Strangely however, the coughing got worse the more lockets I took so I stopped that. By the time the runny nose started I know that the game was up and I might as well accept that I had a cold. Well, share and share alike I always say so I then took it into my own work and liberally spread it around.

I’m still snuffling. I wonder if I should go back to the hairdressers and give her it back?