Jan. 9th, 2009

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I couldn't post yesterday as it seemed to go on for ever, and in the end I was far too exhausted.

On Wednesday evening the boiler developed a problem in that the water pressure kept dropping to zero.  I was pretty sure it indicated a leak in the system somewhere and was in despair at the though of pulling floorboards up all over the house looking for it.  Charles said that he had no heat in the radiator in his second floor bedroom, so I thought it must be somewhere up there or on the first floor.

However, yesterday I went downstairs for an early lunch and as I put on the kitchen light (because it's very dark in there), all the electricity turned itself off with a loud bang.

We restarted it via the fuse box without the kitchen lights and everything else worked perfectly.  I started to eat my lunch, thinking that afterwards I would phone Christopher to see if he could come over some time to fix the lights, and what a bind it was that it was happening at the same time as the boiler, but just as I was clearing the table, I heard a most peculiar noise, which I assumed was one of the Tootles doing something peculiar.  I quickly realised that water was dripping through the ceiling onto the cork tiles, faster and faster.

When I called John, he wondered if he had somehow put a nail in a water pipe the previous day when he was doing the floor in the office.  He again called the boilerman, who answered the phone this time and who arrived about half an hour later with his apprentice,  saying he could only give us half an hour.

Fortunately, in a way, the water coming through the kitchen ceiling gave a massive clue as to where the leak was, and after the Nice Man had shown us how to make holes in the ceiling with a skewer to prevent the plaster coming down, they went upstairs and started tearing up floorboards.  Unfortunately the leaking pipe , which apparently came about when John had hammered down a floorboard to make it easier to lay the office floor, extended into the bathroom and necessitated them taking up some of the floor in there.

They replaced the pipe and refilled the system, Charles undertook to bleed all the radiators.  There was an enormous amount of air in the one in my room!

In the meantime, when he tested the boiler the Nice Man found that the emergency water pressure valve wasn't working and fortunately he had a replacement, which he put in.  I could see that it was a large heavy fitting made of brass and finely tooled, so I knew it would be expensive.

In the end we had just enough cash in the house to pay the £94.50 it cost, although he did say he would take a cheque.  To be honest, I was just glad it hadn't cost any more.

But bang goes the £90 fees for this term's writing course, I thought!

We had to run around with buckets for a while longer while the water decided to change its path and kept dripping out of new places.  The ceiling is now full of skewer-holes, but happily hasn't yet descended onto us.  After clearing yet another lot of water at 10.30, it seemed to settle down and no more drips had appeared by this morning.

Magically, when I logged on to my bank account this morning, it appeared that the State Pension people have for some reason paid me an extra £150-ish.  John suggests I wait to see if I get a letter about it in the next week or so before I go charging in to ask them if they've made a mistake.  It's quite good that this has happened at this time, because, for some reason, my DLA which I should have received last Friday still hasn't turned up.  So I shall have to ring them and ask what has happened.  As it was, I had had to delay paying the rates and water rates, even though I had enough overdraft left to do so, just in case something happened.

So, I'm hoping the extra money is really mine, because it will more than pay my course fees.

Of course, it probably won't cover the extra heating bills we're incurring by keeping the heating on for 24 hours a day for 3 days, to dry out the joists as The Nice Man recommended.  But beggars mustn't be choosers!

I'm feeling very relieved and the house is feeling warmer than it's done for months.  I will get Charles to gently feel the ceiling plaster before we go to bed and if it's dried out, I shall turn the heating off overnight.

Now I'm wondering how long I should leave it before trying the ceiling lights again.  Maybe I'll call Christopher later to ask his advice.

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