Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Domestic hell

You might have wondered about my little interjection about exploding kettles in yesterday's blog - but it's true, my kettle exploded. Well, suffered an electrical fault resulting in a dramatic bang and a flash. And the blowing of fuses (well, current switch thingies).

This evening I was full of excellent intentions in regard to writing.

Hell got in the way.

It all began on Sunday, when my wife reported that the combi-boiler had started making rather a lot of noise, quite unpleasant noise. She demonstrated. It was a very unhealthy sound for a combi-boiler to make.

So she switched it off and rang the Gas Board. Who said they could come between 1 and 6 on Monday afternoon. Lot of bloody use that would be, since nobody would be in, but of course they couldn't even offer to put her at the end of the time. My wife managed to leave work early and arrived at 4. They'd been.

A second freezing cold evening, she called again this time they admitted that for an extra £3 month they could give a slightly better timing of 4 to 6. Begrudgingly she agreed.

Tuesday came, and sure enough, they turned up and did their fixing thing. Then went away.

Half an hour later all the electrics in the house failed.

My wife spent an hour on the phone. Obviously it had nothing to do with them, just a coincidence. (Hell of a coincidence.) My wife rang me at 5:45pm. Now they had no heating and no lights either.

By the time I got back to my flat in Reading, she (up north) had been on the phone to them again, this time managed to force them to send an electrician - "but if it's nothing to do with us we'll charge you!"

In the meantime I had figured out how she could get most of the house working by pulling out all the fuses and then putting them in one at a time until the trip switch tripped again.

She choose not to do it as the electrician was due in a few minutes.

A short time later she rang again, he'd isolated the kitchen circuits and the house had power again but still no heating - he couldn't touch that because he's an electrician. She got on to the Gas Board. Yes, they can come between 1 and 6 the following day.

What happened to the timed visit for an extra £3/month? Oh, that only applies to yearly maintenance. TODAY WASN'T YEARLY MAINTENANCE! Oh, you must have been mis-sold it.

At this point my wife's rag was so lost a battalion of search dogs couldn't have found it. And no she can't talk to the supervisor because he's not here and nobody will be here in 10 minutes.

The electrician took over talking to the Jobs-worth. He was extremely rude apparently. As well as quite sensibly pointing out that it's hardly surprising that their customer satisfaction rating was dropping like a stone when they had this attitude.

The visit was arranged. My wife is so stressed out she's getting ill (the freezing cold isn't helping) and will take tomorrow off anyway. (She hates taking time off.)

Half an hour later the electrics in the house cut out again.

She manages to get the Gas Board (strange I thought they'd all gone home) and they send the electrician back. Meanwhile I give my wife the previous mentioned instructions and we find out that another circuit in the house is faulty. (Can this be a coincidence?)

Makes an exploding kettle fade into insignificance.

So the best laid plans etc. I'm feeling very distracted and can't concentrate on writing. Though yesterday I did manage to finish making all my little bent-cardboard characters to play out the Unit X action scene. Maybe tomorrow.

(I seem to be getting a reputation for action scenes - Dave Bull was a little disappointed with the ending of Ep. 1 of Air because it wasn't as exciting as the beginning. Own back, a rod, my, for, making.)

What's on the turntable? "Hounds of Love" by Kate Bush from "Hounds of Love"

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