Well the good news is I now have hot water. The bad news is my washing machine's packed up. But still, the nice thing about getting up at an ungodly hour in order to wait in all day for a repairman who can't be more specific than "between 8am and 6pm" is that it gives me plenty of time to write a blog post.
As for my boiler, well I'm pleased to say that it was successfully fixed on Tuesday afternoon by a man named Russell. Which was odd as we'd booked a bloke called Terry. I thought he might have been a bogus caller, especially when he asked if he could plug in his laptop, but fortunately my electricity was all he stole, and he seemed to know how to remove a bit of gunk (that's a technical term) from my pipes. Apparently you can tell if you have a blockage in your pipes by using a simple magnet (my landlord paid a hundred quid for this information, so pay attention). Copper piping isn't magnetic, but a blockage made up of rust from the inside of a radiator is. So if you stroke your pipes with a magnet and suddenly feel strangely attracted to them, you've got a blockage.
As it turned out, my pipes contained more iron that a 12oz steak, but the good news is that after forty-five minutes of work by the lovely Russell, most of it was safely out of the pipes and onto my floor. I might have got covered in sludge trying to clear it all up, but at least I had hot water to wash my hands.
So with Russell gone, and my home comforts restored, I cheerfully picked up the iron-covered towels I'd used to mop up the bathroom floor, and chucked them into my washer-dryer. Two hours later I was enjoying the sound of a rattling drum, the smell of burning, and looking up the error code 'F 13'. Apparently it means "call an engineer".
Having forked out £460 for the thing only 17 months ago, I was naturally delighted to find that the guarantee ran out in June, thereby giving me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fork out another £149 for Mr Hotpoint to come and fix it. He should be here... oooh, any time in the next nine hours.
So buoyed by the fact that clearly nothing else could go wrong, we invited Lisa's mother around last night to watch the football. That went well, didn't it. So I spent an enjoyable two hours on the sofa, shouting at the TV, while Lisa's Mum actively supported Croatia. Not because she has Balkan blood, but because she's barking and should be in a home.
When I thought it was all over (it is now), I gave Lisa's mother a lift home, whereupon my car stalled outside her flat and wouldn't restart. I ended up having to push it into a parking space. With Lisa's mother still inside. Fortunately, having carried the woman's bags into the lift and returned to my car, I eventually managed to get it started, and returned to my flat where Lisa had already received a phone call from her mother, informing her of my plight and the fact that I might not be back for a while.
She'd only received the news two minutes earlier, but Lisa had already sprung into action. Had she phoned the AA? Run up the hill to help me? No, she'd gone straight onto my blog and left this comment:
"At least your car is in tip-top condition".