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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.

blackberry444: (Default)
A lovely man came to see about the boiler and repaired it on the spot, without needing new parts, and only charged us £46.  That's what I call a result!  Apparently there was something wrong with the air pressure because the air intake thingummy on the fan was all gunked up, so he cleaned it and got it working again, turned up the gas pressure because he said it was a bit low at the moment, vacuumed inside the entire thing and has agreed to come and do a service in September.  Hurrah!

I was very impressed, because he knew what it was immediately he'd taken the cover off, since apparently the burners started burning properly.  That's the benefit of Years of Experience, that is!  I couldn't tell the difference myself.

Strangely, although that was the only thing that was wrong, the heating now seems to be twice as effective as it was before and has made the house too hot, if anything, so, especially since the forecast is for slightly warmer if wet weather for the next few days, I've put it back onto the programmed settings, which means it's slightly cool now, but quite bearable.  That will help a bit with the horrendous bills I'm expecting next time!

The new dishwasher arrived at 7.30 am yesterday.  Charles had installed it, run the pre-wash programme as intructed by the installation handbook, filled it up, turned it on and gone back to bed by 8.15.  By the evening we had done three loads of washing up, not because we'd left it dirty, but because Charles deemed our hand-washing efforts as Not Good Enough and Needing To Be Done Properly.  It has A rating for energy and water consumption, and something else I can't now remember, and it doesn't seem any louder than the old one.  It also has a cool wash for things which aren't very dirty, like, maybe wine glasses, tea cups and saucers and anything else which has been used but isn't really dirty.  That only takes 30 minutes at a low temperature, so it seems like a good idea to me.  It also has a choice between a 50C wash and a 65C wash for dirty pots and pans.  Some of the spokes of the plate racks in the bottom can be flattend to take large pans and the drawers  can be set in higher or lower positions.  It has hot-air drying which I feel a bit ambivalent about.  I think I'd rather let the stuff air-dry, but it can't be turned off, so I'll have to live with it.  I hope it doesn't mean that it's going to cost us a lot more to run!  It gets things clean, which is the main thing!  It was also the cheapest I could find.  Good old Beko!  Good old Co-op online!  Good old Credit Union who are lending me the money for it at their usual extremely low rate of interest!

On Thursday, even though Charles & I didn't get to Lidl until the afternoon, I was still able to buy a pair of cheapo wireless headphones and an extremely cheap DAB radio which is going in the office when John has finished it off for me.  If they were being sold by Aldi, there wouldn't have been any left by the time I got there.  Hurrah!  for Lidl!

Charles couldn't believe how cheap the headphones were compared to the ones he bought me three years ago, which have recently kicked the bucket.  They're also lighter to wear. and have longer leads, so that the receiver/transmitter doesn't have to be within 9" of the radio, which made the old ones a little inconvenient. 

I was unable to go to my last creative writing class on Thursday, however, because my taxi driver woke up with what the doctor first diagnosed as tendonitis, but later, after a blood test, confirmed was a reappearance of gout.  He was hardly able to walk to the bathroom let alone take me out, but it's much better now.  It was the worst attack he's had, though.

Some guy from Welfare Rights came on Thursday morning to help Charles claim DLA.  I don't know what exactly he's claiming for, but he told me that the man did say that it's difficult to get, but that if it was refused he would help Charles appeal.  I suppose his Mental Elf thinks he should have it, and so arranged for the man to come.

Christmas shopping parcels have started to arrive, so somebody needs to be at home and conscious practically all the time, so Charles has taken to sleeping on the sofa when the rest of us are out.  Even he can't sleep through the door-bell at such close quarters.  His sleep-patterns have got even more messed up than they were before;  I'm so sorry for him, because I get really grumpy if I don't get enough sleep, and he never gets enough, but is rarely grumpy, bless him.

I'm actually pretty grumpy myself today, because I've had to get up really early, for me, all this week and I was looking forward to a lie-in this morning.  I was foiled by the cats;  Bramble and Morgan came into my room at about 7.30 and started messing about, knocking stuff on the floor and so on.  I shouted at them and Bramble went away, but Morgan insisted on fidgeting about on top of the TV.  He tries to lie on it, but because it slopes, he keeps sliding about and clambering back again.  Since the set is made of plastic which flexes, he makes a hell of a lot of scrabbling sounds, which kept waking me up.  Because I'd somehow got my body, specially my bad knee, in a lovely and unaccustomed state of relaxation, I was reluctant to get up and chuck him out, but of course, I ended up wide awake and cross!

Yesterday evening one of our new Chinese next-door-neighbours, Steven, came round to introduce himself, bearing a bottle of Cava and a tin of Quality Street!  How sweet of him, and totally unnecessary!  He and his three housmates work in Chinatown in various restaurants.  He comes from Tiansing province and has lived here for a year before moving next door.  He demanded to know our ages (which John says, is apparently something they always do) and told us he was 25.  He's quite tiny, but handsome and very well-dressed!  I think I'd better buy more mincemeat, because I shall have to make them some mince-pies as I do for my other next-door neighbours.

I must do the labels for my Christmas cards this weekend and I suppose I'd better do the cards while I'm at it.  I'm really fed up that I can't use the office at the moment, so haven't been able to make my own.

I can't use the dining room table for anything at the moment because we have Adrian's poor little goldfish in a huge bowl on the table and have to take great pains to keep the cats out of there!  I don't quite know why we've got it, actually, or when he's going to take it away.  That reminds me;  I'd better go and feed it when I've finished this.

I'm looking forward to next Saturday because I have tickets for Charles and I to go and see Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band doing Carols & Capers at the Sage.  I've had the CD for years, and it's my favourite Christmas CD, but I can't resist the chance to see her doing it.  I felt a bit guilty because the tickets were expensive, but I reckon it's Father Christmas's present to me this year!

Charles was going to install some new RAM (1 GB!) on my PC today, but since he got so little sleep didn't feel that he dared do so.  I can't wait for my PC to get back to being as fast as it seemed to be when I first had it.  For his birthday I've bought Charles 2Gb RAM for his PC.  I've bought him a video card for Christmas, so with that little lot, he may be able to play some of the newer games he wants.  I do hope so, because I've bought him 2 games for Christmas too.

Also for his birthday, I've bought him a Duct Tape wallet.  It was a trifle expensive for what it is, but let's see him destroy that!


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